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?
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 California criminal lawyer regarding your auto theft charge to learn more about your rights.