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California Auto Burglary Lawyers

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What is Auto Burglary?

An auto theft crime is the unlawful taking of another person’s automobile. The word “automobile” includes motorcycles, cars, trucks, and other types of automobiles. In California, stealing a vehicle is called auto burglary.

How Does California Define Auto Burglary?

The state defines auto burglary as entering any vehicle using forced entry with the intent to commit a felony or larceny. Larceny is defined as either petty or grand larceny.

Can I Be Charged with a Separate Crime In Addition to Auto Burglary?

Yes, a defendant can be charged with petty/grand larceny or a felony committed after the auto burglary.

What Is Grand Larceny?

Grand larceny is taking anything valued at more than $950.

What is Petty Larceny?

Petty larceny is taking anything valued at less than $950.

What Does a Prosecutor Need to Prove to Convict Me of Auto Burglary?

A prosecutor has to prove two things: 

  • The defendant entered into a locked vehicle.
  • The defendant entered that locked vehicle with the intent to commit a theft or felony crime. 

Will I Receive Prison Time If Convicted of Auto Burglary?

This charge can be a misdemeanor or felony because it’s a second degree charge. Since auto burglary is a wobbler, Prosecutors have the discretion to charge a defendant with either a misdemeanor or a felony. 

A second degree misdemeanor conviction can result in up to 364 days  in county jail. If the prosecutor charges auto burglary as a second degree felony conviction, the sentence could be 16 months to three years in county jail. 

What are the Defenses to Auto Burglary I Can Use?

Specific defenses depend on the exact circumstances of the situation and lawyer’s advice. However, some general defenses include: 

  • The vehicle wasn’t locked
  • No intent to commit a felony or theft
  • No sufficient evidence the defendant committed auto burglary
  • Burglary was committed due to threats or duress
  • Victim gave consent
  • False identification 

Should I Talk to a Lawyer Regarding My Auto Burglary Case?

Yes. Contact a criminal lawyer regarding your auto theft charge to learn more about your rights.

Photo of page author Taelonnda Sewell

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 05-13-2016 10:53 AM PDT

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