What to Know for Juveniles and Adults Charged with Joyriding in NJ

June 24, 2024

Joyriding is a Crime, Not a Harmless Prank in NJ. It Applies to Both Adults and Juveniles, Even if They Intended to Return the Vehicle.

Monmouth County Defense Attorneys for Juveniles and Adults Facing Joyriding ChargesMany believe joyriding is a harmless activity that adolescents take part in to pass the time and battle boredom. However, it is a potentially criminal offense which is not limited to juveniles and carries serious consequences.  According to New Jersey law, joyriding is the unlawful removal of someone’s “means of conveyance” without their permission, but with the intention of returning it to them. In this way, a joyriding offense violating N.J.S.A. 2C:20-10 is different from an auto theft offense governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:20-10.1, as auto theft denotes the removal of someone’s motor vehicle without the intention of returning it. Both juveniles and adults can be charged with joyriding, so it is not a charge to take lightly. Depending on the nature of the incident, joyriding can be considered a criminal offense in New Jersey, subject to steep fines and even prison time.

If you have been charged with joyriding, you need to call upon an experienced criminal defense attorney such as those on our team at Chamlin, Uliano & Walsh to advise and represent you. Contact us today at (732) 440- 3950 for a confidential consultation to discuss your case, and read on to learn more about joyriding charges against adolescents and adults in New Jersey.

Sentencing for Adults Convicted of Joyriding in New Jersey

Adults face steeper consequences than adolescents. Joyriding can be charged as a fourth degree crime or a disorderly persons offense, depending on the type of “means of conveyance” that was taken without permission. Generally, when an automobile is taken out for a joyride, an adult faces a fourth degree (indictable felony offense) charge. Penalties for a fourth degree felony in New Jersey are up to 18 months in state prison and up to $10,000 in fines. This serious charge and penalties is greatly enhanced when someone is hurt or put at risk of physical injury as a result of a joyriding incident. The accused individual faces third degree felony charges, which can result in three to five years in state prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

Joyriding a non-automobile means of conveyance also results in penalties in New Jersey. When a non-automobile such as a scooter, bicycle, four wheeler, boat, or other mode of transportation is illegally taken with the purpose of joyriding, this is considered a misdemeanor disorderly persons offense that results can lead to up to 6 months in county jail and up to $1,000 in fines. While adults charged with misdemeanor joyriding a non-auto can often avoid jail time, they face a minimum sentence of 30 days in jail and a year’s drivers license suspension if convicted twice of this offense.

It is important to note that even passengers of vehicles taken without permission can be subject to joyriding charges if they were aware that the means of conveyance was removed without the owner’s authority. You don’t have to be the driver to face serious repercussions for joyriding.

What is the Punishment for a Juvenile Charged with Joyriding in NJ?Joyriding Offenses and Consequences in Freehold, NJ

Juveniles face a sentence of serving time in a juvenile detention facility, particularly if someone was put at risk of physical harm as a result of the incident. A juvenile could face up to 60 days in a detention facility depending on the facts surrounding their case. However, there are other options in these cases involving minors. One important consequence for a juvenile charged with joyriding is at least 30 days of community service. The consequences become more harsh when other crimes occur in conjunction with a joyriding offense or injuries occur in the course of the incident.

What Are the Different Court Venues for Juveniles Versus Adults Charged With Joyriding?

Disorderly persons offenses are tried in municipal court, and that includes charges of joyriding a non-auto “means of conveyance.” Both adult and juvenile felony joyriding cases are handled in the Superior Court, but adolescent charges are tried by the Superior Court, Family Division, while adults charged with third degree or fourth degree indictable crimes for joyriding are required to appear in the Superior Court, Criminal Division.

Contact Chamlin, Uliano & Walsh for Assistance with Joyriding Charges in Freehold and Toms River NJ

The term “joyriding” does not do justice to the seriousness of such an offense, whether it involves an automobile or another mode of transportation, or whether the alleged offense was committed by an adult or an adolescent. Misdemeanor and felony joyriding charges can result in steep fines and jail time, but they also leave room for multiple alternatives that a skilled criminal defense attorney can help you secure. For example, in some cases, Pre-Trial Intervention is possible for non-repeat offenders. And with a solid defense, jail time can be avoided even in the absence of pre-trial intervention.

If you have been charged with joyriding, you need the immediate legal support of our criminal defense team at Chamlin, Uliano & Walsh. We have many years of experience defending individuals accused of auto and non-auto crimes such as joyriding in Point Pleasant, Wall, Toms River, Red Bank, Manasquan, Freehold, Howell, Middletown, Long Branch, Colts Neck, Monmouth County, Ocean County, and throughout Southern New Jersey. We are happy to set up a confidential consultation to discuss your case and options. Contact us today at (732) 440- 3950.