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Can You Be Arrested for Trying the Kia Challenge?

Crime scene tape against a backdrop of police lights and a car accident scene.

A recent TikTok trend has resulted in car thefts and vandalism. The trend is known as the Kia Challenge. According to, an online news outlet based in New Jersey, the Kia Challenge involves turning on a Kia with a USB cord.

How Did the Kia Challenge Begin?

Reportedly, the Kia Challenge began in early July when a TikTok user made a how-to video showing people how to start a Kia with a USB cord. From there, the video went viral as people turned the user’s how-to video into a challenge and tried to start their Kia vehicles with a USB cable, too.

However, some people used Kia automobiles that didn’t belong to them to complete the challenge, leading to car thefts and acts of vandalism. The vandalism aspect usually was the result of people busting out the window of a Kia they wanted to start so that they could gain access to the interior of the vehicle and use a USB to start the car from there.

What Are the Penalties for Auto Theft and Vandalism in California?

Whether you steal a car or just vandalize it, the penalties for a conviction can be severe. In the case of vandalism, the punishments can include the following:

  • Misdemeanor – If the damage caused to the vehicle is less than $400, the charge is usually a misdemeanor. Penalties include a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to a year in jail.
  • Felony – If the damage caused to the vehicle is $400 or more, the charge is usually a felony. Penalties include a fine of $10,000 or more (depending on how much damage was done to the vehicle) and up to three years in jail.

As far as car theft goes, depending on the details of the case, punishments for that can include up to three years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

Talk with Our Experienced Car Theft Defense Attorneys Today

Our criminal defense lawyers at Appel & Morse have a history of successfully helping clients facing theft and vandalism charges. Our criminal defense team has over four decades of combined legal experience. We know what it takes to protect our clients’ legal rights and ensure that they secure the most favorable outcome possible for their situation, including having the charges against them reduced or even dismissed.

For more information about Appel & Morse, and how we can help you mount your defense, read our clients’ testimonials.

To discuss your situation with our experienced criminal defense attorneys, give us a call at (805) 467-6060 or get in touch with us online today. We have appointment times available during regular business hours, evenings, and weekends.

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