Joyriding Lawyers in Ocean County NJ

Unlike Theft, Joyriding Revolves Around Temporary Use Without the Aim Of Permanent Possession of the Vehicle

Legal Insights into Joyriding in Toms River NJWhen someone absconds with a vehicle without the owner’s consent but intends to return it to the owner at some point, it is known as joyriding. Joyriding is not considered stealing, as under N.J.S.A. 2C:20-10, it must be proven that the car was taken temporarily without the owner’s permission. The defendant’s intent is important in this charge. The law refers to joyriding as an “unlawful means of conveyance,” which means an illegal form of transport.  Joyriding includes taking a vehicle a person was previously allowed to use, was the property of their parents, relative, or friend, was used temporarily, and returned without any damage.

Distinction Between Joyriding and Theft under NJ Law

An allegation of joyriding is taking a vehicle (car, motorcycle, moped, or other motored means of transportation) with the intention of using it and returning it to the owner.  The joyriding charge does not require evidence that the accused intended to keep the vehicle permanently, only that it was removed without the owner’s permission.  Theft is taking something valuable without the owner’s consent to keep it permanently.

Auto theft is a third degree crime, significantly more severe than joyriding, a fourth degree or disorderly persons charge unless someone is injured. Joyriding by taking items other than vehicles, such as bicycles, skateboards, trailers, horses, and boats, can be charged as a disorderly persons offense.

How Age Impacts a Joyriding Case in New Jersey

Usually, joyriders take a car from someone they know.  It is common for juveniles to sneak out in a parent’s car to see friends or attend an event they were prohibited from attending.  When a teenager is grounded, they may take their parent’s car for a clandestine escape.  If they are caught, they can be charged with joyriding.  They didn’t intend to keep the car; they were using it for a brief jaunt.  If the vehicle belongs to a stranger, as long as there was an intention to return it, it is considered joyriding.

Adults can also be charged with joyriding. Whether they take the car from someone they know or a stranger, as long as they intend to return it, it is not theft. For example, Jack’s car is in the shop and wants to take his girlfriend to see Madonna at MetLife Stadium. His sister Diane is sick and can’t go, but she doesn’t want to lend him her car because he never puts gas in it. Jack remembered Diane always keeping a spare key in the junk drawer in the kitchen, so he helped himself to her car and took off.  Sometime later, Diane runs out to the grocery store for some cold medicine, only to find that her car and her brother have vanished. She calls the police and reports the vehicle stolen, knowing it was Jack who had taken it.  As the police take her statement, Jack pulls up and is arrested for joyriding.

Legal Ramifications for Adults and Juveniles Charged with Joyriding in NJ

For adults, most joyriding cases involve fourth-degree felony charges or a disorderly persons offense.  Felony charges can lead to prison time in the state prison, while a disorderly persons offense can result in a county jail sentence.  Felony offenses can affect a person’s ability to get a loan, a job, rent a house, or work in certain government positions. A fourth-degree felony can mean up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine. A criminal disorderly persons offense can carry a penalty of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. In severe cases, a defendant may be charged with a third degree crime for joyriding that led to injuries for another person. These consequences include a prison term ranging from 3 to 5 years and up to $15,000 in fines.

Juveniles may face anywhere from 30 days to 60 days of incarceration in a State Youth Facility and a maximum of 60 days of community service depending on the specific facts of the offense. A second offense carries a minimum 30-day detention sentence and a 60-hour community service requirement for juveniles and adults.  A diver’s license suspension for 12 months is also required.

Separate Jurisdictions for Adult and Juvenile Joyriding Cases

Adult and juvenile cases are heard in Superior Court, but a Family Court judge presides over all juvenile cases. The Criminal Division of the Superior Court handles adult criminal cases for indictable joyriding offenses of the third or fourth degree. Disorderly persons cases of joyriding against adults are handled by the Municipal Court.

Expanded Impacts of NJ Joyriding Offenses

A joyrider can face additional charges such as eluding police, reckless driving, driving without a license, speeding, failure to yield, DUI, and aggravated assault.  Depending on the severity of the other infractions and crimes, the joyrider can rack up several third-degree charges, which have a 3-5 year sentence and fines of up to $15,000. A one-year suspended driver’s license can also be imposed.

A disorderly person offense can also be assessed when something other than a motor vehicle is temporarily taken without permission. Boats, ski-mobiles, jet skis, bicycles, and even horses that are taken without the owner’s consent can lead to charges of “unlawful taking by means of conveyance.”

Outside of criminal charges, if an accident occurs during the joyriding incident and it is the joyrider’s fault, in many cases, the car owner’s insurance will not cover the damages because the user was unauthorized. If the driver was a juvenile, their parents can be held liable for any damage or injuries caused by an accident.

Exploring Legal Insights into Joyriding in New Jersey with the Help of Our Defense LawyersLegal Implications for Passengers in Joyriding Cases

If the passenger was conscious that the vehicle was taken without the owner’s permission, they can be charged with joyriding.  They can also be liable for any damage to the car or another vehicle if an accident occurs.  If it can be proven that the driver or passenger’s parents failed to provide adequate supervision, they can be liable as well.

Contact a Talented Brick Defense Lawyer for Help with Joyriding Related Charges in New Jersey

Joyriding may seem like a minor issue, but when additional charges such as aggravated assault, eluding, and civil liability for an accident are added to the mix, there can be serious consequences. Whether you are an adult or a juvenile, a joyriding conviction can have a negative effect on your future in Holmdel, Manalapan, Toms River, Howell, Middletown, Point Pleasant, Red Bank, Freehold, and towns throughout Monmouth and Ocean County.

We know how stressful it can be when you or your child are facing charges that could alter the course of their life. Our seasoned criminal lawyers at Bronzino Law Firm are ready to take on your case and pursue a sentence reduction, possible Pretrial Intervention to avoid jail time, or a dismissal of all charges. Our attorneys understand that diversions and better avenues are often within the realm of possibility and we determine, based on each case, how to proceed.

Call us today at (732) 812-3102 for an initial free consultation, or fill out a contact form.