Vehicle Code 10501 VC - False Report of Auto Theft in California

Have you recently received a citation stating that you were guilty of a Vehicle Code 10501 VC violation? If so, and you’re wondering what it’s about and what you should know, consider this your informational hub to help you keep up to date on the violation. You’ll learn about all of the most important details, including:

What is Vehicle Code 10501 VC?

Let’s start with the legislative definition and work our way down from there. According to the California legislature, the formal definition of a Vehicle Code 10501 VC violation is: “It is unlawful for any person to make or file a false or fraudulent report of theft of a vehicle required to be registered under this code with any law enforcement agency with intent to deceive.”

While some of these legislative definitions are a bit tricky to understand, this one is relatively simple, which is a great help. It’s saying, basically, that no one is allowed to either file or go along with a report of vehicle theft to a formal authority when you know that the theft isn’t legitimate.

What does it mean to have violated Vehicle Code 10501 VC?

The potential wrinkle or complication of a Vehicle Code 10501 VC violation is that there’s more than one way in which you can be considered guilty of this violation. To best understand the different ways you would be guilty of it, let’s put our imaginary California resident, Kayla, into a situation to help make it a little clearer.

In the first situation, Kayla calls up the police to report that her car has been stolen. In reality, she knows that her car hasn’t been stolen and that she’s simply making the report formally in order to make sure that the car dealership doesn’t come back to repossess her vehicle after a few missed payments. Her car has just been moved to a friend’s house while the peace officers come to do the report and Kayla is knowingly filing a false report. This makes her guilty of violating Vehicle Code 10501 VC.

In another situation, Kayla is angry with her neighbor because they keep letting her dog pee on her lawn. In order to get back at them, she calls the police to report that her neighbor’s car has been stolen. She knows when they arrive that the car will, in fact, be there, and the peace officers will give them a stern talking-to about filing a false report. In this case, Kayla would be the one guilty of a Vehicle Code 10501 VC because she is the one who is calling in the false theft, rather than her neighbors (who wouldn’t know what’s going on).

Thirdly, Kayla’s best friend, Jenna, is in a tricky situation where she needs some cash and is intending to report insurance fraud by saying that her car was stolen. Once it has been reported as such, Jenna will get an insurance pay-out, as noted in her policy. Jenna asks Kayla to go along with it and help her by (for example) corroborating her story or helping hide her car (or both), or something else that directly implicates Kayla as an accomplice. When the peace officers come and Jenna files the report, Kayla would be as guilty as Jenna of violating Vehicle Code 10501 VC because she is knowingly and deliberately helping cover up a false theft report.

The common themes with all of these examples are that Kayla has to knowingly be filing a false report and that she has to be formally filing the report (ie: with the peace officers). If those conditions are not both met, she’d be innocent of any violation.

For example, if Kayla genuinely thought that her own car (or her neighbor’s car, or Jenna’s car) was stolen, and filed a report, but it wasn’t, she wouldn’t have had any knowledge or intent to be deceitful, so she’d be innocent.

The report must also be a formal one. If Kayla simply mentioned to her boyfriend, Tyrone, that her car was stolen (falsely) and Tyrone decides to make a claim in order to help Kayla out, Kayla would technically be innocent because she didn’t file the report with the peace officers, Tyrone did (knowing it was false, or unknowingly).

What can I do about this violation?

This violation is considered a misdemeanor if it’s a first-time offense. This is punishable, if you are guilty, of county jail time for up to six months, and a fine of up to $1, 000. In many cases, the court will often offer probation instead of jail time, especially if the driver’s record is otherwise clear.

If it’s not your first time with this particular offense, this can be upgraded to a larger misdemeanor (with more jail time and a higher fee), or a felony conviction with 2-3 years of prison time, or even a penal charge, which has different legal punishments.

If you believe that you are innocent of a Vehicle Code 10501 VC violation, you have the right to prove that in the court of law, of course, especially if you see it as one of the exemptions (such as in Kayla’s examples) can be applied to your case. If you are guilty, however, the best thing to do with receiving this citation is to plead guilty quickly and then accept the punishment.

Other possible Vehicle Code violation connections

There are a few similar connections that can be made with the citation of a Vehicle Code 10501 VC. These can include:

  • Vehicle Code 20 VC: This violation means that you are giving knowingly false information specifically to the DMV and/or CHP (giving a false name, for example).
  • Vehicle Code 31 VC: In this case, you are giving the peace officer directly false information verbally or in writing that you know to be wrong or false.

Depending on the situation leading to the ticket, both, either, or all of these citations can be added to the Vehicle Code 10501 VC violation. It depends on what was involved and what the peace officer determines is best for the offense.

Note that receiving a Vehicle Code 10501 VC often includes separate penal code charges, too, which can be applied in addition to any or all of these citations as well.

Is this ticket eligible for traffic school?

This particular ticket is not eligible for traffic school, unfortunately. Eligibility requirements for any accredited traffic school in California, including MM TRAFFIC SCHOOL, are based on the violation being related to a moving citation. For example, failing to yield a pedestrian, would be a moving citation. However, receiving a parking ticket would not. The car must be in motion or related to being in motion, in order to be considered a moving citation.

If you’d like more information on eligibility, or you simply would like to understand more about traffic school and its role for drivers, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help you out. If you would like more information about your particular citation, your best choice is to directly contact that cour that was responsible for issuing your Vehicle Code 10501 VC violation, as they’ll be more familiar with your particular case.

How can I avoid a citation for a Vehicle Code 10501 VC violation?

Since a Vehicle Code 10501 VC violation is so specific, the good news is that it can be avoided by something as simple as not doing it. Of course, it must be broken down into the separate applications of it to make sure that you aren’t so busy avoiding one way that you accidentally step into another!

For example, you should never deliberately file a false claim that your car has been stolen just to prevent it from being repossessed or otherwise taken from you (by a roommate, or something like that). Similarly, you should never say that your car was stolen just to get the insurance payout, as this is considered fraud and a very serious offense (not to mention that you’d likely disqualify yourself from insurance in the future).

Similarly, you’ll need to be careful when someone asks you to corroborate that their car has been stolen. If you’re ever unsure of whether it’s right or not, be extra cautious and refuse to say anything on any formal record. Remember that you can be charged with a Vehicle Code 10501 VC violation even as an accessory if you know the report to be false or modified in some way.

Lastly, don’t involve law enforcement when it comes to dealing with mild irritations or “revenge” on a neighbor. Ideally, these issues should be solved between you and them without any need for escalation, of course, but if this is the way that it is going, don’t falsely report their car to be stolen when you know for a fact that it is sitting in their driveway. This will get you in more trouble than it will them, as explained above. Keep in mind: a Vehicle Code 10501 VC violation is only eligible if you are knowingly giving false information regarding an auto theft. If you don’t know the information to be false, you aren’t considered to be guilty of this violation.



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