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Vehicle Code 10853 Malicious Mischief to a Vehicle Laws in California

VC 10853: Malicious Mischief to a Vehicle

Legal Definition: “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.”

To be found guilty under VC 10853 the prosecution must prove:

  1. You went into a vehicle and attempted to manipulate the vehicle’s levers, its brakes, starting mechanism, or any other aspect or device of the vehicle; and
  2. You do this with the intent to commit malicious intent.

What does this mean?

You complete malicious mischief you climb into the car while it is in motion or parked (or at a rest), and you did this act intentionally. Malicious mischief is when you deface, damage, or even destroy the property of another without that other person’s consent. You cannot complete malicious mischief to your own vehicle, since you are giving yourself consent to do so.

This criminal section applies not only to the inside of the vehicles, but the outside as well. For example, a person who tampers with your license plate is, that person could also be charged for violating VC 10853. Keep in mind, this crime is an intentional crime, you cannot “accidentally” cause malicious mischief to a vehicle, you have to do it on purpose, meaning you must have a specific intent.


A charge under VC 10853 is a misdemeanor-only offense, as opposed to a Felony or an Infraction charge. If you are convicted of this charge as a misdemeanor, you could be sentenced up to six months in a County Jail. You would be required to serve at least 50% of that time in custody. You could also be subjected to a fine of upwards of $1,000 for a misdemeanor conviction.

This is not a strike offense under the California Three Strikes law, and it is not a Sex Offense under PC 290. You could also face a suspension or loss of your Professional License if convicted, and if you are not a legal resident, you would face Deportation in Immigration Court if you have more than one criminal conviction on your record, and then pick up another case involving this charge.

Common Defenses

  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Violation of Rights
  3. Insufficient Evidence
  4. False Allegations

False accusations are not technically considered a “defense” in criminal law. In essence, the defense of false accusations comes from a person who falsely blames you for a crime you did not commit. So in essence, there is a witness that is blaming you for the crime, and you are claiming you are innocent. In many other defenses under California law, you are guilty of the crime, but there is a technical defense that prevents a conviction, different than here. A personal vendetta a person may have against you could possibly lead to criminal charges and even a conviction. It is imperative if you are falsely accused of a crime to contact an Ontario Criminal Defense attorney that can help lead to a dismissal of your case.

It’s also important to note that consent would act as a defense to charges in this case. Consent can work in more than one way, for example, you “consent” when you let yourself commit malicious mischief of your own vehicle. Of course, if you do this, and report this as a crime to the police and your insurance, you can be charged with a criminal offense, such as Insurance Fraud or Lying to Police. In addition, if a person allows you to, or gives you consent to cause malicious mischief to their car, then you cannot be charged with a crime. Failing to show the intentional nature of your offense, would mean there is insufficient evidence to prove you guilty of this offense.

Call Today

The repercussions of a criminal conviction extend far beyond the courtroom, potentially affecting your personal life, employment opportunities, and long-term future. Specializing in cases under VC 10853, our Ontario-based attorney at Inland Empire Criminal Defense has a distinguished track record of defending individuals against a wide array of criminal charges. With thousands of successful defenses to our name, we are dedicated to offering the most effective legal representation to those accused of criminal offenses.

Why Trust Inland Empire Criminal Defense for Your VC 10853 Case?

  • Experienced Legal Defense: Our expertise in navigating the complexities of criminal law, particularly cases under VC 10853, sets us apart. We’re committed to delivering defense strategies that aim to secure the best possible outcomes for our clients.
  • Proven Success: The depth of our experience is reflected in the thousands of cases we’ve successfully handled, affirming our ability to manage even the most challenging legal scenarios effectively.
  • Focused on Your Future: Understanding the far-reaching implications of a criminal conviction, we prioritize not just the immediate legal battle but also the preservation of your future opportunities and quality of life.

Begin Building Your Defense Today

If you’re facing criminal charges, choosing the right legal team is critical. Located in Ontario, Inland Empire Criminal Defense is ready to provide the vigorous, experienced representation you need to navigate this challenging time.

Contact Inland Empire Criminal Defense Now

Don’t let a criminal charge define your future. Reach out to Inland Empire Criminal Defense at 909-939-7126 to discuss your case and learn how our Ontario VC 10853 attorney can help protect your rights and secure a brighter future. Our team, based in Ontario, is here to stand by your side every step of the way.

Frequently Asked Questions

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We offer both in-person and over-the-phone consultations to accommodate your preferences and needs. Whether you’re in Riverside, San Bernardino, or Los Angeles County, we ensure that you can access our legal services in the way that suits you best.

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Our legal services are specifically tailored to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties. For cases outside these areas, we recommend consulting to find appropriate legal assistance. Our focused approach allows us to provide specialized defense catering to the unique legal landscape of these counties.

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