Recently, three people were detained regarding a Camero that was allegedly stolen. According to reports, the deputies from the SCV Sheriff Station responded to a call about a stolen vehicle, and located it on the roads. The driver was arrested by the deputies on charges of driving a stolen vehicle as well as embezzlement charges. Two minors were also involved, and one was arrested on suspicion of possessing a weapon. The type of weapon was not released.
During the arrest, one of the defendant’s mother exited the house and verbally berated officers for disturbing the peace of the neighborhood and arresting people on false charges. The mother’s verbal assault did not hinder the police in their duties, so the mother was not arrested on any obstruction or resisting arrest charges.
Grand Theft Auto (GTA) is covered under California Penal Code 487(d)(1) PC and is described as taking someone else’s vehicle worth $950 or more, without permission, with the intent to deprive the owner of the vehicle.
It’s important to note two specific points in the description of the crime. The first is that the vehicle was taken without the owner’s consent, and the second is the fact that the suspect intends to deprive the owner of the use of their vehicle. The fact that the owner’s consent is necessary to take a vehicle means that if someone else who doesn’t own the vehicle gives the suspect permission, the owner can still press charges.
The second important point, to deprive the owner of use of the vehicle, means that in order to be charged, the suspect must want to keep the vehicle forever, sell it, or deprive the owner of the majority of its use (keep it for years). When the suspect does not intend to deprive the owner of the vehicle for a long period of time, it’s possible that they are charged with the lesser crime of joyriding, which is much like GTA with the exception that the suspect intended to drop off or return the vehicle after a relatively short while.
GTA is a “wobbler” that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Generally though, it is charged as a felony that carries the potential penalties of 16 months to three years in jail.