The arrest began when SCV Sheriff Staiton deputies began following a vehicle that fit the description of the one that was stolen. After several minutes, the deputies conducted a traffic stop near the 14 South. The deputies ran a license plate check on the vehicle, then performed the stop.
The arrest and subsequent search of the vehicle went off without a hitch, according to reports.
Grand theft auto is covered under California Penal Code 487 PC. It is part of California’s grand theft laws, which are typically charged when a suspect unlawfully takes someone else’s property and that property is worth $950 or more.
Sometimes when vehicles are stolen, the elements of the crime don’t add up to grand theft. When someone ulawfully takes a vehicle, without the owner’s consent, and intends only to keep the vehicle for a short while (and it can either be proven such, or the circumstances of the case make it obvious), then it is likely that the defendant will not be charged with grand theft auto, but “joyriding.”
“Joyriding” is covered under California Vehicle Code 10851 VC and is a less serious charge than GTA because it isn’t quite a theft.
GTA is a “wobbler” that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s prior criminal history. Most of the time, though, GTA is charged as a felony. When charged as such, the potential penalties include 16 months to 3 years in jail.
“Joyriding,” on the other hand, is typically charged as a misdemeanor for a first offense and carries with the potential penalty of up to 1 year in county jail.