Vehicle Code 10851(a) VC: Taking a Vehicle Without Consent

California Vehicle Code 10851(a) states that anyone found guilty of taking or driving another person’s vehicle without their consent may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony. This charge is commonly known as joyriding.

When we are on the road with other drivers, we expect them to consider the safety of those around them. However, those taking a vehicle without consent or joyriding may not be so careful. In fact, their negligent behavior may have caused an accident.

Facing a lawsuit with another party that has committed a serious crime along with causing your accident makes recovery complex. While the owner of the vehicle may be seeking justice, you may be concerned about the complications that a criminal case may bring to your lawsuit. At Text Kevin Accident Attorneys, we provide the support you need from a California car accident lawyer when someone causes an accident while violating California Vehicle Code 10851(a) VC: taking a vehicle without consent.

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What Is the Legal Statute for Joyriding?

When your accident is caused by another person committing a crime, it can help you understand your next steps forward if you know what to expect from those laws. Joyriding, or taking a vehicle without consent, can lead to harsh penalties under this law. The text of this law reads as follows:

10851. (a) Any person who drives or takes a vehicle not his or her own, without the consent of the owner thereof, and with intent either to permanently or temporarily deprive the owner thereof of his or her title to or possession of the vehicle, whether with or without intent to steal the vehicle, or any person who is a party or an accessory to or an accomplice in the driving or unauthorized taking or stealing, is guilty of a public offense and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year or pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code or by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.

Joyriding Charges Can Impact Your Personal Injury Lawsuit

When a person commits a criminal offense in the process of causing an injury, it can lead to a much more complex personal injury lawsuit. In these situations, you may be due compensation for the suffering they have caused, both your economic and non-economic damages, especially if your injuries are severe. However, because they broke the law, the at-fault driver may also face criminal charges, leading to a separate trial and penalties.

Because these are two separate types of cases, keep in mind that you must file your own personal injury lawsuit, as you will not receive compensation from the criminal trial. However, the criminal trial may take precedence over your lawsuit, meaning that the criminal trial must be completed before your personal injury claim is heard. That means that a lengthy court case can lead to delays in getting the compensation you need for your full recovery.

However, these charges can also help your personal injury lawsuit succeed. A car accident lawyer in California, like attorney Kevin Crockett, can use evidence gathered in a criminal trial with a much higher burden of proof. Even if the charges are dismissed for the criminal trial, the evidence found there can still be useful for your claim.

A Conviction Can Lead to Serious Consequences

When either driver in a car accident is charged with joyriding, it can lead to serious consequences. Joyriding is a serious charge, which can lead to penalties that haunt the responsible party for some time following the accident. Unfortunately, these consequences can leave a lasting mark on your future.

For example, being accused of joyriding and causing a car accident can lead to misdemeanor or felony charges. The penalties may be up to 1 year in county jail for a misdemeanor or up to 3 years for felony charges. Fines may also vary from a maximum of $5,000 to a maximum of $10,000.

The at-fault driver may also face difficulties in the courtroom. If the at-fault driver was also accused of joyriding, these charges may reflect poorly on their behavior and can lead to difficulties in avoiding the consequences of a lawsuit. Fortunately for you, that means you can use evidence gathered in the criminal case to use for your lawsuit.

Similar Offenses May Be Charged with 10851(a) VC

As you pursue compensation for your personal injuries caused by a joyriding driver, you may be concerned about the other potential offenses that may be charged together with joyriding. More offenses on their case may mean longer times in criminal court, which can further delay your compensation. Watching out for these other charges can help you better understand the timeline you may expect from your claim.

Of course, it is important for injury victims to note that while these charges may delay your ability to get compensated right away, they do not impact the legal time limits you may face for your personal injury claim. Under California Civil Code Section 335.1, injury victims must file a claim within two years, or their claim may be dismissed. When your case is delayed by a criminal trial, this time limit is paused, giving you more time to take action when cases like the following are charged.

Grand Theft Auto (PC 487 (d)(1))

One of the charges most similar to joyriding is grand theft auto, or PC 487(d)(1). Grand theft auto refers to the act of taking someone else’s vehicle without permission, with the intent to deprive that person of their vehicle. The difference depends essentially on the time you intend to keep the vehicle.

Grand theft auto typically refers to situations where you plan to keep the vehicle permanently or for a significant time. However, if the at-fault driver plans to simply take the car for a short period of time, they may only be charged with joyriding. Grand theft auto can also refer to situations where the driver stole the vehicle to use as a getaway car or planned to sell it for parts.

Auto Burglary (PC 459)

Auto burglary is a second-degree burglary offense, defined as entering a structure or locked vehicle with the intent to commit larceny or a felony. Because it is a second-degree burglary offense, it may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The specifics of these charges can impact the severity of the penalties.

In these cases, a misdemeanor conviction may lead to probation, according to the California Rules of Court, or up to 1 year in county jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. For a felony charge, you may be facing felony probation, up to 3 years served in county jail, and a fine of up to $10,000. These penalties depend on the severity of the charges, which can be impacted by the specific factors involved in your case.

Malicious Mischief to a Vehicle (VC 10853)

Malicious mischief to a vehicle refers to the act of entering or climbing onto a person’s vehicle to cause damage. This law may also apply in cases where someone is accused of tampering with the controls. This crime is a misdemeanor.

Misdemeanor charges can lead to harsh penalties, including up to 6 months in jail. You may also face fines of up to $1,000. Those charged with this crime have opportunities for legal defenses, such as a lack of intent or acting with the vehicle owner’s consent.

Impacts Vehicle Code 10851(a) VC Can Have on an Insurance Policy

As a driver, one of the largest expenses that comes with your vehicle is your insurance. Your insurance policy helps you rest assured that your insurance will cover your losses and situations where you are accused of being partially or completely at fault. However, if you are accused of violating Vehicle Code 10851(a), you may be concerned about how that may impact your claim and insurance policy, even if you were not the at-fault driver.

Serious offenses against the California Vehicle Code can lead to changes in your insurance policy. Insurance companies use specific calculations to determine the value of covering your needs as a client. The safer a driver you are, the less expensive your coverage may be.

However, actions such as joyriding may reflect poorly on your performance as a driver. Insurance companies may see these convictions as clear indicators of recklessness, which can be costly for the insurance company. Because of this, you may see rising costs for your insurance coverage, or your coverage may be dropped.

Vehicle Code 10851(a) FAQs

In the wake of an accident caused by joyriding, you may be concerned about the specifics of your case, leading to many questions about this criminal offense and how it can impact your lawsuit. Fortunately, we can answer these questions and provide guidance as you pursue compensation for your injuries. You can check out the following questions or reach out to us for a free consultation to learn more about the specifics of your case.

What is VC 10851(a)?

California Vehicle Code 10851(a) VC defines the crime of joyriding, or taking or driving someone’s vehicle without consent. This offense can be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the specifics of the driver’s behavior and any aggravating factors or past convictions that may impact the severity of their case. If the at-fault party for your case is facing this criminal offense, and you are concerned about filing your claim, do not hesitate to reach out.

Is VC 10851 considered a crime of dishonesty?

Typically, crimes of dishonesty are considered a type of crime of moral turpitude. Because of this, VC10851(a) may also be considered a crime of dishonesty. That means the at-fault driver for your accident may face more serious penalties, depending on their situation.

Is VC 10851 a gross misdemeanor?

Joyriding may be considered a gross misdemeanor because it is a wobbler offense. Wobbler offenses can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the specifics of the case. More serious actions or past convictions can lead to a felony charge.

Is PC 10851 a strike in California?

VC 10851 is generally not considered a strike in California. Strikes, for these purposes, must be serious or violent offenses. However, some related offenses, such as grand theft auto, may be serious enough to warrant concerns about a strike.

Is CA VC 10851 a deportable offense?

Unfortunately, CVC 10851 may be a deportable offense. It can be considered a part of the crimes of moral turpitude under California law, which can lead to deportation if not defended against. Deportation can have massive consequences for the at-fault driver and the injured party who may be seeking damages from them.

Is 10851(a) a felony?

CVC 10851(a) can be charged as a felony, but this is not always the case. The charges depend on the severity of the crime and whether there were any aggravating factors against the at-fault driver. In these cases, the penalties may be much higher.

Call a Reputable Car Accident Attorney When the Other Driver Took a Vehicle Without Consent

When you have been injured in a serious car accident, the penalties for that accident can be devastating, and you may have significant wait times if the at-fault party is also being charged with a crime. That leaves you struggling to pursue the compensation you need for your suffering, leading to difficulties waiting for the appropriate settlement or compensation you are due. Fortunately, your California car accident lawyer can provide the tools and resources to handle these situations properly.

At Text Kevin Accident Attorneys, we provide the tools and resources needed to seek compensation that covers your many needs following a car accident. We offer free consultations to discuss the charges that the at-fault party may face so we can help guide you through this difficult time. To learn more about the opportunities we can provide our clients, reach out by calling or filling out our online contact form.

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