Penalties for Joy Riding in New Jersey

Car theft and joy riding are seen as two different crimes – but both are illegal and are punishable offenses.

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The biggest legal difference between the crime of joy riding and theft is largely determined by intent. Joy riding involves taking a vehicle with no particular goal other than for recreational purposes. Joy riding is taking a vehicle for temporary use, and theft is taking a vehicle without the intent of returning it.

Examples of joy riding include taking someone′s car, truck, or motorcycle without permission, with the intention of just using it for a while. Joy riding charges can also be brought for taking a boat or even a bicycle without the owner’s permission.

It does not matter how long you take a vehicle, or if you return it, joy riding is still against the law.

Can a Passenger Be Charged with Joy Riding?

Yes. You can be charged with joy riding just for being a passenger even if you did not actually take or drive the vehicle. Passengers can also be held just as responsible for any damages to the vehicle, or other property while joy riding.

What Are the Penalties for Joy Riding?

In New Jersey, joy riding is a fourth-degree crime with maximum penalties of 18 months in prison and a $7,500 fine. If other violations, such as reckless driving, property damage, or injury to, or endangering other people occur while joy riding, the charges can be upgraded to the third degree. In this case, joy riding may be punishable by three to five years’ imprisonment and a maximum $7,500 fine.

If certain other crimes are committed while joy riding, the law imposes mandatory penalties for juveniles, including:

  • A minimum of 60 days’ incarceration for any juvenile also convicted of aggravated assault as a result of joy riding or eluding police;
  • A minimum of 30 days for repeat offenders guilty of joy riding;
  • 60 days of mandatory community service for first offense of stealing a motor vehicle, joy riding or eluding police; and
  • 30 days of community service for joy riding.

Additionally, the law allows prosecutors to hold parents who fail to supervise a child who steals a car may accountable and ordered to pay restitution to the victim.

New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyers for Joy Riding Charges

The penalties for joy riding can be stiff. You need an experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyer. At Clark & Noonan, LLC., our attorneys are former prosecutors with the experience and skills to aggressively defend you in court. From representing you during the initial investigation, through the final resolution, we aggressively pursue the best possible outcome. We invite you to learn more about our criminal defense attorneys by visiting the links to their individual attorney profile pages below:

All of our clients can reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via our office or cell phones. You will be in direct contact with your attorneys who will remain available to answer any questions that you may have and provide any necessary counsel until your case is firmly resolved. Our lawyers have spent their entire careers in the courtroom and will give you the peace of mind and confidence that you need while we successfully defend your case. Please call 732-333-3011 or complete the form on this page for a free consultation.