New York Joyriding Lawyer

Joyriding, or the unauthorized use of a vehicle is illegal under New York law and can result in jail time and fines for those found guilty. It is not a charge to take lightly.

If you are facing criminal allegations of the unauthorized use of a vehicle, a New York joyriding lawyer may be able to help you. Our skilled theft attorneys knowledgeable in these aspects of the law could listen to each case with individualized attention and fight aggressively in defense of the rights of those charged.

What is New York’s Law Against Joyriding?

In the context of criminal charges and penalties, New York Penal Law refers to joyriding as “unauthorized use of a vehicle in the third-degree.” As enumerated in New York Penal Law §165.05, there are three ways that a person can commit this crime:

  • A person takes control of a vehicle while knowing that the owner does not consent
  • A person has lawful possession of the vehicle for a business purpose—for example, as a mechanic—and takes the vehicle for a drive without the owner’s permission for their own purposes
  • A person has permission to use a vehicle but does not return it according to an agreement

A violation of the law in any of these matters is a class A misdemeanor. Under New York law, someone convicted of third-degree unauthorized use of a vehicle may have to pay a fine of up to $1,000 and/or serve a jail term of up to one year. A subsequent conviction under this statute that occurs within ten years of a prior offense is a class E felony. A New York joyriding lawyer could work to mitigate the penalties that an individual may face.

Potential Defenses Against a Joyriding Charge

New York courts presume all criminal defendants are innocent until proven guilty. In practical terms, this means it is entirely the responsibility of the prosecution to prove the case against a defendant, and the defendant has the right to challenge the prosecution’s assertions in turn.

A major component to many joyriding cases is the individual’s state of mind at the time of the incident. In all of the above examples, the prosecution must prove that the defendant knew they did not have permission to use the car. Therefore, a common defense in these cases may be that there was a simple misunderstanding. Documentation such as text messages, emails, or other communication can play a large role in proving a defendant reasonably thought they had permission to use the car.

Some of these charges also require the joyriding to constitute a “gross deviation from an agreement.” For example, if a defendant was supposed to return a car by 5:00 PM but failed to do so until 5:15 PM, they may argue that this was not a serious enough deviation from an agreement to constitute an unlawful taking.

A New York Joyriding Attorney Could Stand Up for a Defendant’s Rights

It is wise to treat any criminal charge with caution, as even misdemeanors and other relatively minor charges such as joyriding can result in stiff fines and even jail time.

From an initial arraignment to a final trial, a New York joyriding lawyer could offer seasoned guidance. By advocating in pre-trial hearings and working to effectively cross-examine witnesses in court, an attorney could work to defend you at every turn. Call today to see how we can help.