What is the Difference Between Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle & Grand Theft Auto in Farmersville, CA?

Borrowing a car without permission might seem like a minor infraction, especially if it involves a vehicle from a friend or family member. However, under the law, this act can escalate to auto theft, a serious crime with serious legal outcomes. Ajua Bail Bonds would like to explore the fine line between unauthorized use and theft, the potential consequences if charged, and how bail bonds can help those arrested for these offenses.

Unauthorized Use VS Auto Theft

The distinction between simply using a car without permission and committing auto theft lies in the intent and the duration of the “borrowing”. Here’s how the law typically defines the two:
• Unauthorized Use: Often regarded as a lesser offense compared to auto theft, unauthorized use occurs when someone uses a vehicle without the owner’s permission but doesn’t intend to keep it. This could be charged as “joyriding” which is usually considered a misdemeanor.
• Auto Theft: This is charged when the individual intends to permanently deprive the owner of their vehicle. Auto theft is a felony and involves severe penalties, including significant jail time.
The key factor here is intent. If it can be proven that there was no intention to return the car, what started as borrowing can be legally treated as theft.

Legal Consequences of Auto Theft

Auto theft charges can result in harsh penalties, including:
• Imprisonment: Felony charges could lead to several years in prison depending on state laws and the value of the vehicle.
• Fines: These can be very high, often running into thousands of dollars.
• Restitution: The court may order the defendant to pay for any damages or losses incurred by the vehicle owner.
• Criminal Record: A conviction results in a permanent criminal record, affecting future employment opportunities, among other things.

Bail Bonds for Auto Theft

If arrested for auto theft, the individual will typically go through a bail hearing where the amount of bail is set based on factors like the severity of the offense, the defendant’s criminal history, and the perceived flight risk. Here’s how bail bonds can help:
• Setting Bail: Bail for auto theft can be quite high, particularly if the vehicle involved is valuable or if there is serious damage.
• Contacting a Bail Bond Agent: If the bail amount is more than the defendant or their family can afford, a bail bond agent can be contacted. Bail bondsmen ensures the bond is paid to the court, which allows the defendant’s release from jail.
• Paying the Bail Bond Fee: Typically, bail bond agents charge a premium of about 10% of the total bail amount. This fee is non-refundable but is often a financially feasible option for many families.
• Release from Jail: Once the bail bond is processed, the defendant can be released from jail. This allows them the freedom to continue daily activities and consult with their attorney to prepare for upcoming court dates.
• Compliance with Bail Conditions: Following release, it’s essential that the defendant complies with all conditions set by the court. Failure to appear at court hearings can result in the revocation of bail and further legal consequences.

Bail Bond Services in Clovis, Reedley, Sanger, Selma, Atwater, Los Banos, Merced, Visalia, Porterville, Tulare, Hanford, Corcoran, Lemoore & Greater Fresno, CA

Borrowing a car without permission can potentially lead to auto theft charges if the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle is established. Understanding the seriousness of this charge and the nuances of legal intent is important. For those arrested under such charges, contact Ajua Bail Bonds today.

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