October 10, 2018 | Theft & Property Crimes
Auto theft charges in California can either be a misdemeanor or a felony. How a crime is classified depends on the facts in a given case. However, most auto theft cases involve felony charges that carry jail time and a fine of up to $10,000 for those who are convicted. To commit auto theft in the state, a person must take a car that doesn’t belong to him or her and is worth more than $950.
Furthermore, it is necessary to show that the car was moved with the intent to deprive the owner of an ability to enjoy it. This is true regardless of how the car was taken and moved. If the vehicle is eventually returned to the owner, an individual may be charged with a misdemeanor count of joyriding instead of auto theft.
Whether a person is charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, a conviction may result in penalties with short and long-term consequences. These penalties may include incarceration and paying thousands of dollars in fines and legal costs. However, it may be difficult to pay these costs as a conviction could cause a person to be passed over for job opportunities. As there may be a lot on the line for a person facing criminal charges, it may be worthwhile to seek the advice of an attorney.
A legal professional may be able to provide insight into the charge as well as ways to defend against it. This may help a person avoid some or all penalties that may result from a conviction. By creating doubt in a legal matter, it may be easier to obtain a plea deal or have a case thrown out before it goes in front of a jury.