The Difference Between Grand Theft Auto and Joyriding
Your best friend just bought one sweet ride. You have been itching to go for a ride but your friend is waiting for nicer weather before taking it out on the open road. One day, she asks you to house-sit for her while she goes on vacation and you agree. While she’s out of town, you decide it wouldn’t hurt to take the car out for a ride. However, things go sour quickly when she returns home and realizes her car is missing. She calls the police and accuses you of stealing the car. But it was only a simple ride around town. Did you really commit grand theft auto?
What is grand theft auto anyway? The legal definition is when someone takes someone’s vehicle without consent and with the intent of permanently depriving the owner of the vehicle. New Jersey does not have a specific car theft law; however, there are stiff penalties involved when someone steals a car. If you are convicted of the crime, it is considered an indictable crimes offense. You will be facing up to 10 years in prison, several thousand dollars in fines and penalties, and have your license suspended for up to 10 years. And that’s not all — you may be charged with other crimes as well, such as carjacking or burglary.
But in the scenario above, the defendant may be able to plead his/her case down to joyriding, a less serious crime that falls under disorderly persons offense. In New Jersey, joyriding is defined as someone is taking the automobile without the intent of permanently depriving the owner of its possession. Although it a lesser charge, it still comes with a stiff penalty. It can be considered either a fourth or third degree crime, depending on the circumstances. You will definitely be fined, but a prison sentence may not be in your future, depending on your criminal record.
If you are charged with grand theft auto or joyriding in Jersey City, your best option is to get an experienced criminal defense attorney who will make sure your rights are protected. For more than 35 years, New Jersey criminal defense attorney Anthony Carbone has been helping hundreds of clients with their criminal cases. Contact us today for a free consultation.