CALL OR TEXT 24/7:  909.939.7126
Open/Close Menu Inland Empire Criminal Defense
A person wearing a hood and gloves is attempting to break into a car using a tool on the car's lock.

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

A criminal conviction can have a devastating impact on your life, your job, and your future. Ontario VC 10853 attorney has successfully defended thousands of people accused of criminal offenses, including cases under VC 10853. Call your local Ontario Criminal Defense Attorney today at the Inland Empire Defense 909-281-0565. Located in Ontario.

Write a comment:


Your email address will not be published.

Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor should it be considered the formation of a lawyer or attorney-client relationship. If you would like to find out more information about your particular legal matter, contact our office for a consultation.

© 2023 Inland Empire Criminal Defense. Site Designed by Inbound Surge, a Digital Creative Agency.