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Auto Theft Lawyer in Long Beach
Penalties for Auto Theft
Depending on the circumstances of the case, auto theft may either be charged as a misdemeanor or a felon. The crime of "theft and unlawful taking or driving of a vehicle" is included in the California Vehicle Code and is a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
If, on the other hand, you are charged with Grand Theft Auto (which is included in the Penal Code as a felony), you can be sentenced to prison. The severity of the sentence for this crime depends on the value of the vehicle; stealing an old, beat up car is not punished as harshly as stealing a luxury automobile or a new sports car.
Understanding Intent in Auto Theft Cases
The factor that determines whether you are charged of the lesser or the greater offense is essentially one of intent. If you had the purpose of actually stealing the vehicle, you will most likely be charged with Grand Theft Auto. If, on the other hand, you were merely joyriding, you will most likely be charged with the misdemeanor offense. In some cases the goal of the defense is to have the charge reduced from the felony to the misdemeanor, though in others it is possible to have the charges dismissed or to obtain a full acquittal.
Speak with a Long Beach Criminal Attorney Now
Don't wait another moment before contacting West Coast Defense for help from a Long Beach criminal defense attorney. We are led by a lawyer who is former Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney. We have more than 25 years of legal experience. We can meet with you for a free, confidential consultation to review the circumstances of the offense and to discuss strategies for fighting the charges. Call (800) 922-6989 now to get started.
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