California Joy Riding
Joy riding is the unlawful taking of a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent governed by California Penal Code section 487(d)(1). Joy riding is a lesser offense to grand theft auto. Joy riding differs because the defendant intends to return the car whereas grand theft auto, a defendant intends to deprive the rightful owner permanently.
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Elements to Joy Riding or Unlawful Taking of a Motor Vehicle
In order for someone to be found guilty of joy riding, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:
- Defendant drove a motor vehicle
- Defendant as not the owner
- Defendant did not have permission
What are the Legal Defenses to Joy Riding?
When someone is charged with joy riding, it’s often a misunderstanding between the defendant the person who owns the car or the defendant is falsely accused. Additionally, if a defendant was granted consent by the owner of the vehicle, then the defendant is not guilty of joy riding.
What is the Punishment for Joy Riding?
Joy riding is a “wobbler” offense which gives the prosecutor discretion to charge someone with joy riding as a misdemeanor or felony. A misdemeanor conviction carries a maximum sentence of one year in the county jail. A felony conviction carries a sentence of 16 months, 2, or 3 years in the state prison. If one is convicted of joy riding as a felony, they may be eligible to reduce the felony conviction to a misdemeanor upon successful completion of probation.
Free Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Consultation
If you or a loved one has been arrested, charged, or is under investigation for vehicle theft, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense & Theft Attorney John Rogers at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers located at 1801 Century Park East, 24th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90067. Call (949) 625-4487 now for a free confidential consultation concerning your rights and defenses.