Consequences And Penalties Of Grand Theft Auto Offenses

Grand theft auto is the taking of a car belonging to another with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle. California counts with two different statutes that criminalize auto theft. The only difference is whether the defendant intends to take the car temporarily or permanently. Each crime can be punished as a misdemeanor or a felony. Grand theft auto, stealing an automobile or any other vehicle is considered as a felony in most states. If a loved one or you have been charged with this crime, will be glad to help you go through your situation.

To convict a person of grand theft auto, the prosecutor must show these elements

  • Taking or driving a vehicle that belongs to another person
  • Taking the car without the owner’s concern
  • The intent to permanently deprive the owner of the object

In many states, grand theft auto laws not only apply to cars but also boats, campers motorcycles, and other vehicles.


Carjacking is worst that grand theft auto offenses. Carjacking is the taking of a vehicle from its owner by force or fear. For example, a person that forces a driver out of a car at gunpoint will be convicted of carjacking.

Defenses for grand theft auto

Intent: If a person takes the car but intends to return it to the owner, that person didn’t commit the crime of theft.

Consent: If the owner of the car allowed the person to take their car, there is no crime.

Penalties for grand theft auto convictions

In the state of California, grand theft auto is defined as a wobbler, that means it can be considered either as a felony or a misdemeanor depending on how the crime is charged, and how the judge decides to treat the conviction. When the crime is a misdemeanor, it is punishable by up to one year in jail. But if it´s a felony, it is punishable by 16 months or two years and by a fine up to $5,000. On the other hand, carjacking is a felony punishable by three, five or nine years in jail. A subsequent or second conviction for grand theft auto is punishable under California’s three strikes law.

  • Imprisonment
  • Probation
  • fines
  • Restitution

Examples of grand theft auto

  • Stealing a car to use it as a getaway
  • Taking a car intending to sell it by parts
  • Taking someone else’s car just for a couple of hours just for a ride and then leave it behind in the neighborhood where you found it

Grand theft auto is a serious crime and is often punished as a felony. Sometimes, it could be difficult to go through this process but with the help of a criminal defense attorney and a bail bond agent, everything will be easier to handle and you can be less worried about your situation. If you don’t know anything about grand theft auto laws and want to know more about it, this video explains in detail everything related to grand theft auto convictions.

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