According to California laws, Vehicle Code 10851 is defined as driving or taking a vehicle without the consent of the owner thereof, and with intent either to permanently or temporarily deprive the owner of his or her title to or possession of the vehicle. This may also be commonly referred to as “joyriding.” A vehicle includes a passenger vehicle, motorcycle, motor scooter, bus, school bus, commercial vehicle, truck tractor, trailer and semi-trailer.
Joyriding is a wobbler, meaning it can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony. If you are convicted of joyriding as a misdemeanor, you may face up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. If you are convicted of felony joyriding, you may face up to 3 years in jail, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
To be convicted of joyriding, the prosecutor must prove that you drove or took the vehicle, that the vehicle is not owned by you, and that you did not have permission to operate it.