Joyriding is the crime of operating another person’s vehicle, including a car, bicycle, boat, or motorcycle, without permission from the owner.  Joyriding differs slightly from the crime of auto theft because the perpetrator of joyriding does not generally intend on taking the vehicle permanently.  Joyriding is a criminal offense that is punishable in a court of law. 

Joyriding is most often perpetrated by juvenile offenders, the majority of which are young males.  A young person may commit this offense because they believe that joyriding is fun, exciting, thrilling, provides status, and the like.  Juveniles often commit joyriding just for fun, to get home or to some other destination, to act in defiance, to succumb to peer pressure, and for other reasons.  Many offenders commit the crime of joyriding in a reckless, dangerous, or otherwise defiant manner that poses a threat to public safety. 

Joyriding offenses often lead to accidents that involve personal injury or property damage.  When damages are caused by way of joyriding, the driver and all the passengers in the vehicle can be held responsible for paying the cost.  You do not have to be the driver in a joyriding offense to be charged with a crime.  Alternatively, you do not have to cause damages to person or property in order to be charged with joyriding. 

The crime of joyriding is considered a misdemeanor offense.  In a joyriding case, the prosecution does not have to prove that the defendant intended to steal the vehicle in order to adjudicate the offender for the crime of joyriding.  When the defendant in a joyriding case is a minor, the juvenile court usually has jurisdiction over the matter. 

In the juvenile system, many offenses are considered delinquent acts rather than criminal acts.  The handling of a juvenile case depends on a number of factors, some of which include the nature of the offense, the age of the offender, the offender’s history, the juvenile’s family and social background, and more.  In some cases, joyriding will be one offense of many with which the juvenile has been charged.  In these situations, a joyriding charge may be considered separately or in conjunction with the other offenses. 

The crime of joyriding carries a number of consequences.  If personal injury or property damage was caused in the joyriding incident, the driver and any passengers can be held liable for paying the cost.  The legal consequences for joyriding may also include any combination of the following: compulsory counseling, community service, probation, house arrest, detention, and license revocation or suspension. 

Joyriding is considered a form of theft which poses a threat to public safety and is, thus, taken very seriously.  If you or a loved one has been charged with joyriding, you may wish to speak with an attorney who can advise you of your legal rights and options.  Please contact us to speak with a qualified and experienced legal professional in your area who can evaluate your case to determine how best to protect and maximize your legal rights. 

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