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Taking a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent is auto theft

Driving around in an automobile can be fun, passing by places of interest and taking in the sights and sounds. But while the act of joyriding might sound like it’s the same thing, it’s anything but joyful.

Joyriding is the term for unlawfully taking another person’s vehicle without the owner’s consent. Car thieves aren’t the only ones who engage in this act; even young adults who take their parents’ automobiles for a spin without permission are considered joyriding.

In New Jersey, the act of joyriding is a crime. Anyone convicted of the crime faces the same penalties as those accused of stealing automobiles.

Penalties for joyriding

If a person is convicted for unlawfully taking a motor vehicle for the first time, they’ll face a $500 fine. A court may also order the suspension or revocation of the person’s license for up to a year.

For a second offense, the person must pay up to $750 in fines. The court may also suspend or revoke the person’s license for up to two years.

Those convicted of a third or subsequent offense must pay a hefty $1,000 fine. A court may also order the suspension or revocation of their license for up to ten years.

To decide whether to suspend or revoke a convicted driver’s license and to determine for how long, the court will consider the circumstances of the joyride crime. The court will also consider whether the loss of the person’s driving privileges will lead to their extreme hardship or if the person lacks alternative transportation.

Additional penalties

Persons charged with unlawfully taking a motor vehicle could face additional penalties if the vehicle they took was not recovered and its value and the total worth of its contents at the time was over $7,500. This might happen in cases where the joyriding individual crashes the vehicle, causing a total loss.

The additional penalty is a fine adjusted to the total value lost.

Joyriding is a crime, even if you take a relative’s or friend’s vehicle. A court will handle the offense similarly to auto theft cases, and you’ll face the same penalties on conviction. Don’t underestimate the charges against you and consider your legal options.



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