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Joyriding is not named specifically as such in the penal code in New York, it is instead labelled as the unauthorized use of a vehicle which can be charged in three degrees. What is most important to know is that joyriding is a serious offense regardless of the degree it is charged it, as in its lowest form it is still a class A misdemeanor meaning you could spend a year in jail if convicted of the offense. If you are currently facing charges for joyriding or unauthorized use of a vehicle, call now for a free consultation with one of our experienced New York criminal attorneys to discuss your options.

Although most people know the term ‘joyriding’, what joyriding boils down to is the taking of a person’s car without the owner’s permission and using it while intending to return it. The intent to return the car or the actually returning the car is the difference between this charge and the charge for vehicle theft which is a felony offense. As for the statute itself, the unauthorized use of a vehicle applies when a person knows they do not permission from the owner of the vehicle and they take the vehicle for a ride or otherwise operate it.

This can also apply to someone who does have possession of the vehicle with permission from the owner, but the agreement for possession is to perform a specific service for compensation, such as maintenance or repairs and while possessing the vehicle for repairs they intentionally use or operate the vehicle in a way that is not within the agreed purpose. For example, a person who owns a Ferrari takes it into the shop and the mechanic decides to drive the car home over the weekend and use it as his personal vehicle would be able to bring charges against the mechanic for unauthorized use of the vehicle. Similarly, this law would apply if an agreement were in place for the vehicle to be returned at a specified date and time, but given for any purpose, and the person temporarily possessing the vehicle fails or refuses to return the vehicle in a timely and proper manner.

If a person commits this offense a second time within a period of 10 years, the second offense is raised to be an E felony, meaning significant jail time and fines could apply upon conviction. A felony conviction is incredibly serious and can lead to significant issues later in life. Joyriding in and of itself may not seem like a huge issue and like something teens just do to “have fun”, using someone’s car without their permission even if you intend to return it can lead to serious legal consequences if the owner decides to press charges.

If you have been charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle due to joyriding or using the vehicle outside its intended purpose, our experienced team of New York criminal attorneys are here to help you handle these charges. Call now for a free consultation with our team to discuss how we can help you.

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