Law Office of David P. Shapiro - San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney




2550 Fifth Ave Suite 1050, San Diego, CA 92103

San Diego Motor Vehicle Theft Attorney

Facing charges of motor vehicle theft or carjacking in San Diego? These are serious offenses that could potentially lead to years in prison. At the Law Office of David P. Shapiro, our motor vehicle theft lawyers have defended numerous clients against allegations like grand theft auto, joyriding, and armed carjacking.

We investigate each case to identify weaknesses in the evidence and assert all available defenses. From claims of rightful ownership to flaws in witness accounts, we explore every strategy to protect your rights and future. Our courtroom-tested attorneys will work to obtain a favorable resolution to your charges. Do not go it alone – contact us immediately.

Motor Vehicle Theft Charges in California

California Penal Code § 487(d)(1) defines motor vehicle theft as the unlawful taking of another person’s vehicle with the intent to deprive them of it permanently.

To convict you of this crime, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you:

  • Took or drove someone else’s vehicle.
  • Did so without the owner’s consent.
  • Intended to keep the vehicle permanently or for a significant period.

The penalties for motor vehicle theft are severe and depend on the circumstances of your case and your criminal history. 

This crime is a wobbler offense, meaning the state can charge grand theft auto as a misdemeanor or felony.

Potential sentences range from probation to several years in prison, fines, and restitution to the vehicle owner.

Other Auto Theft-Related Offenses

It’s important to note that motor vehicle theft differs from joyriding or carjacking charges in California, although the charges may seem related. 

  • Joyriding (Penal Code § 499b) involves taking a vehicle temporarily without the owner’s permission.

Carjacking (Penal Code § 215) involves using force or fear to take a vehicle from someone’s immediate presence. This can involve using a weapon to threaten the driver/occupants or causing them to reasonably fear harm if they don’t comply. Carjacking is a form of robbery and is charged as a very serious felony in California that can lead to years of prison time if convicted. It is a strike felony under California’s Stree Strikes Law.

Parallel Theft Crimes in San Diego

In addition to grand theft auto, you may face other theft-related charges, such as:

These related offenses can impact your motor vehicle theft case and provoke additional penalties or complications in your case. 

Our knowledgeable motor theft attorneys will analyze all the facts in your situation and develop a comprehensive strategy to address any related charges mentioned above.

Defending Against Motor Vehicle Theft Allegations

The Law Office of David P. Shapiro knows that every theft case is different, so we tailor our strategies around the specific facts of your case. 

Some common defenses our vehicle theft defense lawyers may explore include:

  • Lack of intent to permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle
  • Consent from the vehicle owner
  • Misidentification or mistaken allegations

We thoroughly investigate your case, gather evidence, and challenge any weaknesses in the prosecution’s alleged facts or arguments. 

Our criminal defense law firm also negotiates with prosecutors for charge reductions or alternative sentencing options, such as plea bargains, when appropriate. 

If necessary, we’ll defend you at trial and hold the prosecution to its high burden of proof, that is, beyond a reasonable doubt.

Collateral Consequences of a Motor Vehicle Theft Conviction

Beyond the criminal penalties, a motor vehicle theft conviction can impact your life beyond the courtroom. 

Some potential collateral consequences include:

    • A criminal record that hinders employment, housing, and loan opportunities.
    • Immigration consequences for non-citizens.
    • Civil liability to the vehicle owner.

Our San Diego law firm knows how the long-term impact of a conviction will hurt you, and we’ll work to minimize or entirely eliminate these collateral consequences to help you move on with your life. 

In cases where a conviction is sustained, you  may sometimes seek post-conviction relief, such as expungement, when applicable.

How Our California Grand Theft Auto Attorneys Help

Our skilled San Diego grand theft auto lawyers can provide invaluable assistance throughout your case by:

  • Protecting your rights during police investigations and questioning.
  • Scrutinizing the evidence and challenging weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.
  • Providing honest counsel on your defense options and likelihood of success.
  • Negotiating with prosecutors for charge reductions or alternative sentencing.
  • Zealously defending you at trial if necessary.
  • Guiding you through the complex legal process with knowledge and compassion.

We have outstanding results in handling theft cases and are committed to providing you with personalized attention and advocacy.

Why Choose Our San Diego Motor Vehicle Theft Lawyer?

If arrested for any motor vehicle theft crime in San Diego, from joyriding to grand theft auto, you need our skilled legal team on your side. At the Law Office of David P. Shapiro, here’s why we should be your first call:

  • Years of combined courtroom experience
  • Strategic negotiation and trial approach
  • Personalized attention to your unique case
  • Respected reputation for professional advocacy
  • Proven track record of motor vehicle theft successes

Don’t risk your future with these serious charges. Contact us for a free case evaluation from our top-rated San Diego motor vehicle theft lawyers.

Don’t Wait — Contact Our Motor Vehicle Theft Lawyers Today

Time is of the essence after the police arrest you for motor vehicle theft. The sooner you contact us, the faster we can get ahead of the prosecution’s case against you.

Schedule a confidential consultation with our team today to learn more about your legal options and how we can assist with your motor vehicle theft case. Together, we’ll work to protect your freedom and your future.

If you or someone you love is facing criminal charges in California, swift action is imperative. The penalties can be life altering and long lasting. Give us a call today to set up a case evaluation with one of our attorneys and learn how to best protect your freedom and future. Too often, we see clients who “wait and see,” unsure of the legal landscape ahead, only for charges to escalate. They then find themselves backpedaling into a bad defense and an even worse lawyer. Don’t let that happen to you. Protect your freedom. Protect your future. Know your rights.

The contents of this article are meant for informational and marketing purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Viewing and/or use of the blog does not form an attorney-client relationship. No statements in this post are a guarantee, warranty, or prediction of a particular result in your case.


Client Reviews

Real Clients Share Their Experience

“David and his staff did an excellent job managing all aspects of my case. He and his staff are professional, courteous, and do their best to take care of their client’s needs. When I had initially called for a consultation they were prompt with a response. They answered my questions regarding my case, explained what my options were, and had developed a game plan during our first phone call. He has a very reasonable pricing. When dealing with either David or his support staff I felt that they always had my best interests in mind. I would definitely use their services in the future if the need arises. I would definitely recommend his legal services to any friends and family in the San Diego area.”

—Chris S.  —  Google Review