Orange County Grand Theft Auto
An Experienced OC Theft Lawyer on Your Side
Back in 1993, the state of California led the nation in the number of vehicle
thefts, with 21% of the total vehicles stolen throughout the United States.
Orange County accounted for 10.4% of the vehicles stolen in California,
and this led to losses of more than $100,000,000 for Orange County victims
and insurance companies. Fast forward to 2011, and there were only 6,344
motor vehicle thefts in Orange County. This number represented only 4%
of the statewide auto thefts in 2011, and this is partially due to the
efforts of the Orange County Auto Theft Task Force (OCATT). Over the past
20 years, this task force has arrested more than 1,000 suspects involved
in the theft and sale of stolen motor vehicles.
These criminal acts are commonly referred to as grand theft auto, which
is defined under California Penal Code §487(d)(1) as the theft of
an automobile of any kind, regardless of the estimated market value of
the motor vehicle. This offense is also defined in the California Vehicle
Code §10851 as taking a vehicle that does not belong to the defendant.
This offense is also referred to as "joyriding". Both of these
laws can be used to charge individuals with the crime of grand theft auto,
and it is important to understand the exact details of these laws if you
have been charged with this theft crime.
Is It Considered a Misdemeanor or Felony?
Over the last twenty years, the advancements in technology in our country
have led to new and smarter methods of stealing vehicles. Today, it is
not uncommon for auto thieves to use the Internet and other computer sources
to obtain information and create false identities. Sometimes, this technology
is used for the purpose of committing identify theft and then purchasing
new vehicles, renting vehicles, or registering stolen vehicles. To combat
these types of auto theft, the Orange County District Attorney's Office
has dedicated a Deputy District Attorney to handle auto theft cases on
a full-time basis. This means that anyone who is accused of grand auto
theft or another vehicle-related crime will be under full prosecution.
After an arrest, you should take action immediately to contact a skilled
Orange County theft lawyer who has experience handling these types of cases. The OCATT detectives
made 49 physical arrests of vehicle thief suspects during 2011 alone,
and they continue to increase their efforts to track down other offenders.
There are two different ways that your auto theft case may be handled.
If the prosecution can prove that your intention was to temporarily deprive
the owner of the vehicle, your case will likely be tried as joyriding
under the California Vehicle Code. This is a misdemeanor charge with potential
penalties of up to $5,000 in fines, imprisonment for up to one year, or both.
The more serious grand theft auto offense is outlined in California Penal
Code §487(d)(1). You can be accused of this serious offense if the
prosecutor can prove that your actions were meant to be a permanent theft.
This offense can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending
on the circumstances of your case and whether you have any prior convictions
for theft or other offenses. If your grand theft auto case is tried as
a felony, you may face potential penalties of sixteen months, two years,
or three years in jail.
Effective Theft Crime Defense Strategies
Without the help of a skilled Orange County theft attorney, you may be
defenseless against the evidence that the prosecution presents against
you. Instead of trying to handle your case by yourself, you should
contact the Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman as soon as you learn of your criminal charges. There are several different
defense strategies that may be effective in reducing or dismissing your
charges, and a skilled defense lawyer can help you build a compelling
strategy for your charges.
Attorney Jacqueline Goodman has gained a comprehensive understanding of these charges and how to defend
the rights of the accused. Depending on the circumstances surrounding
your arrest, we may be able to prove that you did not actually intend
to steal, that the car actually belonged to you, or that you were falsely
accused. In some situations, we can prove that the person who owned the
car gave their consent to you taking the vehicle.
Whatever charges you may find yourself facing, you can count on our firm
to fight aggressively to protect your rights and your future.