Auto Theft vs Grand Theft Auto: Difference and Comparison

Auto Theft means the stealing of an automobile, as the name suggests. Grand Auto Theft is a type of Auto Theft, from its many types.

Sometimes the two terms are used interchangeably as there are not many differences between the two of them. There are only a few key differences.

Key Takeaways

  1. Auto theft involves the unlawful taking of a motor vehicle.
  2. Grand theft auto is a specific auto theft with a higher value threshold or certain circumstances.
  3. Both crimes are considered felonies, but grand theft auto carries more severe penalties.

Auto Theft vs Grand Theft Auto

The difference between the terms auto theft and grand auto theft is that auto theft means stealing an automobile that is a vehicle, and grand auto theft is a type of it. Auto theft occurs under different circumstances, addressing different auto theft crimes. And grand auto theft is one of them.

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Auto theft is stealing an automobile, taking an automobile in another’s name without that person’s consent. It is also known as motor vehicle theft.

It included vehicles like cars, trucks, and jeeps. Auto theft is a big business. According to the stats, one car is stolen every 35 minutes.

Grand auto theft is a type of auto theft in which the car or the whole vehicle is stolen to sell its part or use it for another crime.

Grand auto theft is different than petty theft and is charged with more penalties and punishment.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAuto TheftGrand Theft Auto
What is it?A crime of stealing vehicles.A type of auto theft
What is stolen?An item from the vehicle, a part of it, or the whole car when it is unoccupied.The whole vehicle, whether it is occupied or unoccupied.
TypesMainly two types: petty theft and grand auto theftIt doesn’t have any type.
ChargesCharges are low.Charges are more.
InsuranceInsurance covers when you file a complaint with the police.Insurance covers when you have comprehensive coverage.

What is Auto Theft?

Auto theft, which is also known as motor vehicle theft, is the theft of automobiles. Automobiles include cars, jeeps, vans, trucks, and every other type of automobile.

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Auto theft has many types according to the circumstances, such as what is exactly stolen and for what. There are mainly two types: petty theft and grand theft auto.

Petty theft is when an item from the car is stolen, and any part of the car is stolen. And when the car is taken for a time and then returned, this is called joyriding. It is also petty theft.

The charges of petty theft are low. And the grand theft auto is mentioned below.

Auto theft is very common. According to the statistics, the theft of vehicles causes losses of millions of euros. One vehicle is stolen every 35 minutes. Mostly, cars are stolen.

Many countries have fixed an amount to distinguish the type of theft. For example, in California, if the theft is under 950$, it is petty theft, while if the theft is above it, it is grand theft auto.

The punishment of the crime is decided on the type of theft as well. Petty theft is charged as a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year in prison.

What is Grand Theft Auto?

Grand theft auto is a type of auto theft. It is called grand because it involves a higher level of theft. Auto theft is considered grand theft auto when the whole vehicle is stolen.

There can be two types of grand theft auto as well. It is based on whether the car or the vehicle is occupied or unoccupied.

If the vehicle is occupied and then the criminal has stolen the car by forcing the occupants, it is called carjacking, the hijacking of a vehicle. And it is an offense considered under grand theft auto.

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Grand theft auto is a more punishable crime than petty theft. Grand theft auto is charged as a felony as the vehicle is taken without the consent of the owner.

The crime is offensive and is punishable by years in jail, according to the price of the vehicle. Like if the vehicle is priced above $65,000, the criminal will face an additional year in jail.

Although, in some states, every theft related to an automobile is considered a grand theft auto, and the punishment is fixed. The terms auto theft and grand theft auto are the same in states like these.

Main Differences Between Auto Theft And Grand Theft Auto

  1. Auto theft is the stealing of cars which includes many types. Grand Theft Auto is a type of it.
  2. Auto theft includes stealing only a part or stealing the vehicle for some time. Grand theft auto is stealing the whole vehicle to sell its parts or using it for another crime.
  3. Auto theft is considered when the car is unoccupied, while grand theft auto is considered when the car is stolen, either occupied or unoccupied.
  4. Auto theft also includes when something from the car is stolen. For being a grand theft auto, the vehicle should be stolen.
  5. The charges for auto theft are fewer, while the charges and punishment of grand theft auto are more.
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Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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8 thoughts on “Auto Theft vs Grand Theft Auto: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The comparison table in the post is very useful in distinguishing between auto theft and grand theft auto. Well-explained and informative post.

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  3. The post offers a comprehensive comparison and provides excellent information about auto theft and grand theft auto.

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