In the simplest terms, joyriding is taking another person’s vehicle out for a drive without their permission for fun. In Maryland, joyriding is the unauthorized use of a vehicle, and may lead to criminal consequences.
If you’ve been accused of joyriding in Maryland, an experienced Baltimore joyriding attorney can work to lessen the harm of a criminal charge and/or the penalties you may face upon a conviction. An experienced criminal defense lawyer is your greatest asset in working to attain a successful outcome to your case. If you’re facing criminal charges, contact The Law Office of Hillel Traub to speak with Baltimore’s trusted criminal defense attorney and learn how he can help.
What’s the Difference Between Joyriding and Theft?
Because joyriding is classified in the Criminal Code of Maryland under the heading that includes theft allegations, joyriding is generally considered theft. Joyriding is similar to theft because it’s the act of taking someone else’s property without permission. However, the difference lies with what the person’s intent was when driving off the vehicle and whether they intended to deprive its owner permanently.
If the defendant intended to keep the vehicle from the owner permanently, that would be considered felony theft. Whether the defendant sold or kept the car, the courts look at whether they allegedly intended to prevent the legitimate owner from getting it back.
In contrast, if the defendant drove off with the vehicle with the intent of returning it, that would be a misdemeanor charge for joyriding. In Maryland, the penalties for joyriding include a potential jail sentence between six months to four years.
Potential Joyriding Offense Scenarios
A typical scenario that may lead to joyriding charges involves someone driving off with another person’s car and later returning it or abandoning it at a nearby location. In Maryland, that scenario would constitute joyriding or the unauthorized use of the property. However, there must be a clear indication that there was an intent to return the vehicle to its lawful owner.
This situation may arise when a family member, friend, or acquaintance drives off with a vehicle without the owner’s permission. Perhaps someone wants their sibling’s car to run errands or go out of town for the weekend, and their sibling refuses to grant permission. If they took the car anyway, the intent to keep it permanently is not present. However, they took possession of the vehicle and used it without authorization.
If you are charged with joyriding or any comparable offense in Maryland, it is highly recommended to contact a qualified Maryland joyriding attorney.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
It is essential to retain an experienced attorney who understands the different offenses for theft and unauthorized use of vehicle, as the penalties for each crime are distinct. After hiring a lawyer, they become your advocate and legal guide to determine the best defense to resolve your case with the most desirable result. Consequently, a lawyer with years of experience handling these types of cases will be your most vital support in the effort to avoid criminal charges.
Any lawyer’s responsibility is to investigate the charges that the prosecution filed against their client. Attorneys examine whether the state has enough evidence to prosecute, and if their case lacks substantial evidence, then an experienced lawyer will point this out at the appropriate time. A lack of sufficient evidence may lead to a plea of not guilty while the state decides where their problem is and if they can resolve it.
While every case is different with its unique circumstances, retaining a skilled Maryland joyriding attorney will increase the likelihood of achieving a favorable outcome.
Speak With an Experienced Baltimore Joyriding Attorney
If you or a loved one was alleged of joyriding or a related theft offense, do not delay in seeking the legal counsel of an experienced Baltimore joyriding attorney. If you have questions about your case or the potential penalties you may face, The Law Office of Hillel Traub can help.
With over 20 years of experience, Attorney Hillel Traub has vast experience defending all types of criminal offenses throughout Baltimore and the State of Maryland. His former experience includes Assistant Attorney General for the Maryland MVA, where he gained considerable insight that makes him the optimal choice for any legal matters involving motor vehicle issues in Maryland. To schedule a free case review with Hillel Traub, complete a contact form or call at (410) 850-1100.