California Penal Code § 487 (d) When the property taken is any of the following:
(1) An automobile, horse, mare, gelding, any bovine animal, any caprine animal, mule, jack, jenny, sheep, lamb, hog, sow, boar, gilt, barrow, or pig.
Grand theft auto is the crime of grand theft proscribed in subsection (d) of section 487 of the California Penal Code. Please see the section on “grand theft.”
A defendant charged with grand theft auto may be able to face a less serious offense if he can prove that he did not intend to permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle. The crime of joyriding requires that the person intend to temporarily deprive the owner of the vehicle, and it usually is charged as a misdemeanor. It is important to be represented by an attorney in any legal proceeding. In the case you have been charged with grand theft auto, you need to have an advocate helping you to protect your legal rights.