Substrative Vehicle Decrypt § 10852, it is criminal to tamper with a vehicle. The text of 10852 reads, “[n]o prison shall either individually or in association with one on more persons, willfully injure or tamper with part vehicle or the contents thereof or break or remote any part of a auto without the consent concerning the owner.”
In contrast, auto burglary under Penal Code § 459 prohibits the entry into a locked vehicle or its truck with the intent to steal the car (grand theft auto (“GTA”)), steal property in the car (petty theft or grand theft) or to commit any other type of felony in the vehicle.
The crimes are similar and the prosecution will often rare one charge through another depending on whether the car is locked and whether the auto’s contents are recovered (and where they are found). If the car is locked, but broken into, auto burglary (Penal Code § 459) is the charge. When the car is unlocked, tampering with a vehicle (Vehicle Code § 10852) would be the charge.
Second, the prosecution will evaluation what is supposedly stolen, if anything, and where it is recovered. When an feature is recovered from the wheels in the possession of a defendant, auto burglary is usually charged. If, for example, the owner states that he or she thinks a music cd is missing from the car and it is found in a parking lot fifty feet away, 10852 will probably be the charge, as it does not appear that the suspect intended to keep the item.
Likewise, if there is cipher missing in a car, but someone witnessed defendant opening the unlocked sedan and searching its contest 10852 would most likely be the charge. In our experience, we have seen tampering with a vehicle charged when a client allegedly opened an unlocked basket and supposedly released the latch for the car’s hood ( the owner told police he had not released his hood when parking the car).
The defenses to both crimes are fairly logical. First, because such offenses usually take place at night, false identity is often a defense. At night, a clear biography of the suspect is usually difficult. A unmarred defense attorney will visit the sight and see in case a security camera exists and demand the tape, by subpoena if necessary, to support such a defense. Police, moreover, infrequently take fingerprints from the car unless a high dollar value is at issue or these are other reasons to pay chief attention to the case.
Second, when the suspect’s identity is beyond doubt, there is always yield as a defense. If the suspect’s property was inside the wheels or trunk and the car was unlocked, this defense is often viable.
Third, one’s intent to steal is required for such a conviction. For example, assuming one entered a vehicle merely to recover something that is owned by defendant, even if the car was locked, there is negative theft. Similarly, a defendant likelihood malversation into a car, but change his mind about stealing anything. This barricade is a important defense provided cash (not just coins) is left inside the midsize or other valuable are left in unalluring view inside the car.
The penalties for each crime are similar, however more severe obviously for auto burglary. Vehicle burglary is a wobbler, meaning it can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor, depending upon the facts of the case and the defendant’s prior record. If one if convicted of felony auto burglary, the least lockup time is sixteen months. The maximum is three years. If a misdemeanor is charged, the maximum jail time is one year.
Tampering beside a vehicle is always a misdemeanor. The utmost retribution is one year in county jail, since well as a magnificent about $1,000. However, if the vehicle tampered with is used by a disabled person, the fine can penetrate $2,000.