Code Section Group

Vehicle Code - VEH

DIVISION 4. SPECIAL ANTITHEFT LAWS [10500 - 10904]

  ( Division 4 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )

CHAPTER 4. Theft and Injury of Vehicles [10850 - 10856]
  ( Chapter 4 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )

10850.
  

The provisions of this chapter apply to vehicles upon the highways and elsewhere throughout the State.

(Enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3.)

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.

(b) If the vehicle is (1) an ambulance, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 165, (2) a distinctively marked vehicle of a law enforcement agency or fire department, taken while the ambulance or vehicle is on an emergency call and this fact is known to the person driving or taking, or any person who is party or an accessory to or an accomplice in the driving or unauthorized taking or stealing, or (3) a vehicle which has been modified for the use of a disabled veteran or any other disabled person and which displays a distinguishing license plate or placard issued pursuant to Section 22511.5 or 22511.9 and this fact is known or should reasonably have been known to the person driving or taking, or any person who is party or an accessory in the driving or unauthorized taking or stealing, the offense is a felony punishable by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for two, three, or four years or by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.

(c) In any prosecution for a violation of subdivision (a) or (b), the consent of the owner of a vehicle to its taking or driving shall not in any case be presumed or implied because of the owner’s consent on a previous occasion to the taking or driving of the vehicle by the same or a different person.

(d) The existence of any fact which makes subdivision (b) applicable shall be alleged in the accusatory pleading, and either admitted by the defendant in open court, or found to be true by the jury trying the issue of guilt or by the court where guilt is established by plea of guilty or nolo contendere or by trial by the court sitting without a jury.

(e) Any person who has been convicted of one or more previous felony violations of this section, or felony grand theft of a vehicle in violation of subdivision (d) of Section 487 of the Penal Code, former subdivision (3) of Section 487 of the Penal Code, as that section read prior to being amended by Section 4 of Chapter 1125 of the Statutes of 1993, or Section 487h of the Penal Code, is punishable as set forth in Section 666.5 of the Penal Code. The existence of any fact that would bring a person under Section 666.5 of the Penal Code shall be alleged in the information or indictment and either admitted by the defendant in open court, or found to be true by the jury trying the issue of guilt or by the court where guilt is established by plea of guilty or nolo contendere, or by trial by the court sitting without a jury.

(f) This section shall become operative on January 1, 1997.

(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 15, Sec. 606. (AB 109) Effective April 4, 2011. Operative October 1, 2011, by Sec. 636 of Ch. 15, as amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 39, Sec. 68. Note: The operative date in subd. (f) originated in, and relates to, a prior version.)

10851.5.
  

Any person who takes binder chains, required under regulations adopted pursuant to Section 31510, having a value of nine hundred fifty dollars ($950) or less which chains are not his own, without the consent of the owner thereof, and with intent either permanently or temporarily to deprive the owner thereof of his title to or possession of the binder chains whether with or without intent to steal the same, or any person who is a party or accessory to or an accomplice in the unauthorized taking or stealing is guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than six months or by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or by both such fine and imprisonment. The consent of the owner of the binder chain to its taking shall not in any case be presumed or implied because of such owner’s consent on a previous occasion to the taking of the binder chain by the same or a different person.

(Amended by Stats. 2009, 3rd Ex. Sess., Ch. 28, Sec. 54. (SB 18 3x) Effective January 25, 2010.)

10852.
  

No person shall either individually or in association with one or more other persons, wilfully injure or tamper with any vehicle or the contents thereof or break or remove any part of a vehicle without the consent of the owner.

(Enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3.)

10853.
  

No person shall with intent to commit any malicious mischief, injury, or other crime, climb into or upon a vehicle whether it is in motion or at rest, nor shall any person attempt to manipulate any of the levers, starting mechanism, brakes, or other mechanism or device of a vehicle while the same is at rest and unattended, nor shall any person set in motion any vehicle while the same is at rest and unattended.

(Enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3.)

10854.
  

Every person having the storage, care, safe-keeping, custody, or possession of any vehicle of a type subject to registration under this code who, without the consent of the owner, takes, hires, runs, drives, or uses the vehicle or who takes or removes any part thereof is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine of not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) or by imprisonment in the county jail for not exceeding one year or by both.

(Enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3.)

10855.
  

(a) (1) If a person who has leased or rented a vehicle willfully and intentionally fails to return the vehicle to its owner within 72 hours after the lease or rental agreement has expired, the person shall be presumed to have embezzled the vehicle.

(2) If the owner of a vehicle that has been leased or rented discovers that it was procured by fraud, the owner is not required to wait until the expiration of the lease or rental agreement to inform law enforcement pursuant to subdivision (c).

(b) The owner of an embezzled vehicle as described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) shall attempt to contact the other party to the lease or rental agreement who has failed to return the vehicle using the contact method designated in the rental agreement for this purpose. If the owner is able to contact the party, the owner shall inform the party that if arrangements for the return of the vehicle that are satisfactory for the owner are not made, the owner may report the vehicle stolen to law enforcement. If the owner is not able to contact the other party after a reasonable number of attempts, or, if upon contacting the other party, the owner is not able to arrange for the satisfactory return of the vehicle, the owner may report the vehicle stolen pursuant to subdivision (c).

(c) The owner of a vehicle that has been embezzled as described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a), after satisfaction of the requirements of subdivision (b), or of a vehicle that was stolen as described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a), may report this occurrence to a peace officer.

(d) The lease or rental agreement shall disclose that failure to return the vehicle within 72 hours of the expiration of the lease or rental agreement may result in the owner reporting the vehicle as stolen and shall require the lessee to provide a method to contact the lessee if the vehicle is not returned.

(e) Section 40000.1 does not apply to an owner who fails to comply with this section.

(f) This section shall remain in effect until January 1, 2024, and as of that date, is repealed.

(Amended by Stats. 2019, Ch. 609, Sec. 3. (AB 391) Effective January 1, 2020. Repealed as of January 1, 2024, by its own provisions. See later operative version added by Sec. 4 of Stats. 2019, Ch. 609.)

10855.
  

(a) If a person who has leased or rented a vehicle willfully and intentionally fails to return the vehicle to its owner within five days after the lease or rental agreement has expired, the person shall be presumed to have embezzled the vehicle.

(b) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2024.

(Repealed (in Sec. 3) and added by Stats. 2019, Ch. 609, Sec. 4. (AB 391) Effective January 1, 2020. Section operative January 1, 2024, by its own provisions.)

10856.
  

(a) A person shall not interfere with the transport of a vehicle to a storage facility, auction, or dealer by an individual who is employed by a repossession agency or who is licensed pursuant to Chapter 11 (commencing with Section 7500) of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code once repossession is complete as provided in Section 7507.12 of the Business and Professions Code. This subdivision shall not apply to a peace officer while acting in an official capacity.

(b) Any tow yard, impounding agency, or governmental agency, or any person acting on behalf of those entities, shall not refuse to release a vehicle or other collateral to anyone that is legally entitled to that vehicle or other collateral. This subdivision shall not apply to a vehicle being held for evidence by law enforcement or a prosecuting attorney.

(Added by Stats. 2014, Ch. 390, Sec. 11. (AB 2503) Effective September 17, 2014.)

VEHVehicle Code - VEH