Everyone likely remembers driving around town in their very first car, cruising around, showing it off, and feeling the freedom. Joyriding used to mean just driving to drive, with no destination in mind, windows rolled down, checking out the local girls or guys. When it comes to California law, however, joyriding means something else altogether and it can end with serious criminal charges and penalties.
What the Charge Means
The crime of joyriding is the act of taking another person’s automobile without their consent, with the intent of depriving that person of their vehicle. It’s important to note, however, that unlike some other crimes, prosecutors do not have to prove that an individual planned on permanently keeping the vehicle. Even taking someone’s car with the specific intent to return it is still considered joyriding. It’s also important to note that anyone who is a party to the crime, regardless of whether they were driving or not, can also be charged.
The law specifically states that having had prior consent to take a vehicle doesn’t absolve someone of these charges. This means if they had permission to take the vehicle last week, but went ahead and took it this week, they can be charged with the crime. The statute in question also hands down tougher penalties for taking certain vehicles such as those defined as handicapped vehicles, ambulances and police cruisers.
Bail Amounts for Joyriding
The penalties for joyriding, and every other crime in California for that matter, are set by the state. When it comes to bail amounts, however, each individual county can set their own price tag. In Orange and Sacramento counties, for instance, some individuals may face a $20,000 bail amount after being arrested for joyriding. This amount jumps to $25,000 in Orange County if the automobile was one of the aforementioned special vehicles.
Some counties, however, take the crime even more seriously. In Los Angeles County, for instance, individuals can end up with $25,000 bail amounts for joyriding, and if the special types of vehicles mentioned above are involved, this amount jumps to $30,000. Fortunately, bail agencies such as Bail Hotline, can post your bond for 10% or less, and can offer payment plans as well.
Penalties for Joyriding
The penalties for joyriding can vary greatly depending on the specific case. In many instances, joyriding is merely charged as a misdemeanor. A conviction of this magnitude, however, can still result in $5,000 in fines and a year in jail. Unfortunately for many arrested for the crime, joyriding can also be charged as a felony.
Those who take police vehicles, ambulances, fire trucks or vehicles that have been modified for use by disabled persons may face felony charges. A conviction under these charges can lead to up to four years in prison and $10,000 in fines. In addition, if a person has a prior conviction for felony grand theft auto or felony joyriding, their sentence can also be increased.
The term ‘joyriding’ may convey a sense of fun when a person first hears it, but unfortunately for many, they realized that this is a very serious offense. Those charged with this crime can face extremely high fines and even time in prison. Since the repercussions for a conviction are so severe, an individual would do well to speak with an attorney before entering any plea before the court.