Bill Would Increase Criminal Penalties for Auto Burglaries


California Lawmakers came together to introduce a bipartisan bill at that would increase the penalty for auto burglaries.

Assembly Bill 1921 was introduced by Assemblyman Tyler Diep (R-Westminster) and Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan with principal co-author Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco). The bill was introduced on January 13, 2020.

Diep explained in a video he posted on Twitter that under current law you have to prove to a prosecutor you locked your door.

“That has caused a lot of stress and burden to victims, that is why I introduced AB 1921 to allow a prosecutor to prosecute and go after a bad guys that broke into your car, smashed your car window, the ability to prosecute all these crimes without having to you as a victim, having to demonstrate you locked your car door,” said Diep.  “Auto burglary has become a big epidemic in the Bay Area and some of the same criminals are moving down to Southern California.”

“I’m proud to coauthor AB 1921. We’ve seen an alarming spike in auto break-ins, one that we must take immediate action to address. Every smashed window and every piece of stolen property is both costly and a personal violation of our residents. For far too long criminals have been abusing a loophole in current law that requires prosecutors to prove that a car was not unlocked at the time of a break-in. This bill would close that loophole and ensure that the perpetrators are held accountable,” said Bauer-Kahan.

According to the AB 1921l:

AB 1921, as introduced, Diep. Unlawful entry of a vehicle.

Existing law defines the crime of burglary to include entering a vehicle when the doors are locked with the intent to commit grand or petit larceny or a felony. Existing law makes the burglary of a vehicle punishable as a misdemeanor or a felony.

This bill would make forcibly entering a vehicle, as defined, with the intent to commit a theft therein a crime punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a period not to exceed one year or imprisonment in a county jail for 16 months, or 2 or 3 years. By creating a new crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.


  1. This is just political smoke and mirrors. The new law they are touting still allows for a forced auto burglary to be charged as a misdemeanor. Even if it is charged as a felony, this will allow it to be conveniently pled down to a misdemeanor. Do you really think that’s what we want?

  2. You can thank the assholes who voted for Prop. 47 . . . and now they bitch that their car windows are being smashed … 27,000 of those were smashed in 2018! Probably more in 2019.

      • Those who voted for Prop. 47 most probably have relatives in prison for theft and wanted them exonerated. Why would anyone with half-a-brain vote for that unless they themselves or their people were part of that thieving crew?

  3. The fact that the problem is even being acknowledge by our tone deaf overseers, is a step forward.

    • An alarming spike in auto break-ins? How quaint! Believe me, they knew about it because we have complained about it since that idiotic proposition passed. Pretty soon they will make murder a misdemeanor. Which ass added that the victim had to prove that his car was locked when the punks broke into it? That one really takes-the-cake!

  4. Even if you locked your car and there is nothing visible laying on the seats, the thieves will still smash the car windows and rummage through it checking if there is something under the seat, in the glove compartment or in the trunk.

    I had a friend who was so disgusted with what happened to his vehicle that he took a dark blanket, laid down the floor of the back seat area, covered himself and waited. Sure enough, an hour later some punks came around trying to smash his car windows with a wrench ……. He popped up and scared them off. I told him that he should put a King Cobra and a heater in his car and run it from the cigarette lighter.

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