Joyriding is a term that evokes thoughts of a harmless teen prank. Under the law, however, joyriding is the unauthorized use of a vehicle, regardless of the intent to steal the vehicle. An individual does not have to even drive or be a passenger in the car to be convicted of this offense. Additionally, a conviction for this offense is a Felony that carries serious consequences.
If you are facing or expect to face charges involving joyriding, reach out to a Boca Raton joyriding lawyer as soon as possible to learn the implications of the charges you face. An experienced criminal attorney could utilize defensive strategies to fight the charges, protect your rights, and prevent mistakes that could jeopardize your case.
Is Joyriding an Offense?
Joyriding is also referred to as unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Florida treats joyriding as theft or often even grand theft. The difference in potential penalties for theft and grand theft is enormous. While this offense may be viewed as a less serious Misdemeanor in other states, joyriding is a serious criminal offense in Boca Raton.
As defined in Section 812.014 of the Florida Code, joyriding is considered theft. This crime occurs when an individual obtains or uses someone else’s property with the intent to either deprive the owner of its use or appropriate the property for the use of someone not authorized by the owner temporarily or permanently.
To be convicted of a theft crime, the person taking the item had to intend to permanently deprive the owner of its use. The use of the term “temporarily” essentially makes borrowing an item the same thing as stealing it. If you have any questions about what is considered joyriding, reach out to a Boca Raton joyriding lawyer at Leifert & Leifert.
Penalties for Joyriding in Florida
Under Section 812.014, theft of a motor vehicle is considered a Third-Degree Felony. The severity of the punishment may escalate if the vehicle is particularly valuable or the vehicle is used to commit another crime.
The penalties for Third-Degree felonies in Florida include imprisonment for up to five years and a fine of up to $5,000. If the vehicle used without authorization is worth between $20,000 and $100,00 or is a law enforcement or emergency vehicle, the offense may be treated as a Second-Degree Felony. In this instance, the maximum penalties increase to 15 years in State Prison and a fine as high as $10,000.
If, while using the vehicle, the joyrider causes $1,000 of damage to the property of others or if the vehicle is worth $100,000 or more, the crime is treated as a First-Degree Felony. Penalties may include up to 30 years in Prison.
How a Boca Raton Joyriding Attorney Could Help
Since joyriding carries severe penalties under state laws, you may need to obtain the help of an experienced Boca Raton joyriding lawyer at Leifert & Leifert. There are several defenses available, but to make full use of your defensive options, it is important to collect and preserve vital evidence with our Attorneys’ help as soon as possible after the accident. It is also important to avoid making statements which could be misinterpreted or used against your interests.
To start working toward the best possible outcome in your joyriding case, contact our knowledgeable Attorneys today for a free consultation.