Joyriding in Lansing
Joyriding may sound like just a phrase that gets thrown around, but it is actually a legal offense in Lansing and throughout the state of Michigan. These charges can be raised when someone takes a vehicle without permission for a short amount of time. This charge is usually reserved for individuals less than 21 years of age though. Legal adults who are caught joyriding usually get charged with car theft or a more serious charge.
There is no real law in place asserting the difference between adults who joyride and minors who joyride. That is why this deceptively small time misdemeanor and can mean a lot of big time trouble for you. If you are accused of joyriding, you should hire a car theft lawyer immediately. Even if the charges are not upgraded, you can still face penalties and prison time. Read ahead to learn more about these charges and what you can do to defend yourself.
Joyriding or Auto Theft?
Just as your age may determine what charges you face, the nature of the theft and activities during said crime will also affect the court’s ruling. A major factor is your blood alcohol content (BAC) during the theft. Obviously, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to have any amount of alcohol in their system. If a minor is found to have consumed alcohol, the charges can be upgraded.
For adults over the age of 21, the BAC limit for operating a vehicle is anything over 0.02% BAC. If you are caught joyriding with a BAC over this limit, you can face license suspensions, license revocation in serious cases, and other punishments.
If you were involved in an accident while joyriding, a whole new field of problems arises. Whereas joyriding is merely a theft related case, injecting property damage, and potentially bodily injury, can result in very serious charges. In these cases, you will be held responsible for any damage you caused while joyriding in addition to jail time and criminal fines.
Whether your charges remain as joyriding or are upgraded to auto theft, property damage, or other serious charges will hinge upon the details of your case. If you have been unjustly charged with crimes you did not commit, you need to hire an attorney immediately. The veteran attorneys of Grabel & Associates are ready to take your call and begin building your defense right now.
Punishment for Joyriding and other related crimes
Joyriding, merely by itself, is a misdemeanor offense with punishments that can range from very light to serious. If, for example, a pair of teens steals the neighbor’s luxury car and takes it for a spin, they will likely face community service, probation, or have their licenses suspended. If a car was taken briefly to commit a crime though, the offender can be sentenced up to three years in prison for joyriding before the other crime is considered.
The nature of joyriding often lends itself to other crimes being associated with the charge. Often, the joyrider is only caught because they were involved in an accident, pulled over, or tied up in some other offense. That is the true danger of joyriding. The act can be argued as an avenue to other criminal activity. Joyriding could lead to the suspects committing a theft or assault. Perhaps the joy rider was only stopped because they hit another car. In the wrong circumstance, a simple case of joy riding can branch out to everything from other misdemeanors, felonies, and even manslaughter in unfortunate auto accidents.
One of the more serious crimes that joyriding can be upgraded to is Unlawfully Driving Away in an Automobile. This offense is strictly taking possession of a vehicle and willingly driving away without the permission of the owner. This crime is punishable up to five years in prison.
Another charge you can be accused of for joyriding is Unlawful Use of a Motor Vehicle. This charge asserts that you willingly operated the vehicle without the permission of the owner. A misdemeanor charge, it is punishable up to two years in prison.
Any of the above charges all assume short-term use of the vehicle with the intent to return it or at least abandon the vehicle. If a prosecutor can get the evidence, they can be upgraded to Auto Theft charges. These are serious charges and should not be taken lightly.
An important action you must take if you are arrested for any of the above charges is not to speak with the police. Anything you say can give away important information that the prosecution can use to upgrade a joyriding charge to an auto theft charge. Instead, politely decline any questions until you have had the opportunity to speak with your attorney.
Contact Grabel & Associates
You need a professional and seasoned attorney who can defend your rights in court. The attorneys at Grabel & Associates have been practicing law in Michigan for over ten years. Between our expert attorneys, we have over 100 years of legal practice between us. We have to tool, the contacts, and the knowledge to protect your name in court. Call us 24/7 at 1-800-342-7896, and you can also contact us through our website. Our case analysts are standing by to begin building your court defense immediately. Do not wait for the prosecution to build a case against you, call now.