Under section 154A of the Crimes Act 1900, the offence of joy riding, otherwise referred to as taking a conveyance without consent is classified as a criminal offence with offenders liable to significant penalties. The Crimes Act states:
- Any person who:
- Without having the consent of the owner or person in lawful possession of a conveyance, takes and drives it, or takes it for the purpose of driving it, or secreting it, or obtaining a reward for its restoration or pretended restoration, or for any other fraudulent purpose, or
- Knowing that any conveyance has been taken without consent, drives it or allows himself or herself to be carried in or on it,
shall be deemed to be guilty of larceny and liable to be indicted for that offence.
This offence can often be confused with the more serious charge of stealing a motor vehicle or vessel which is found under section 154F of the Crimes Act. While joyriding refers to circumstances where a car was stolen and later returned, the offence of stealing a motor vehicle or vessel is characterised stealing a vehicle or vessel without the intention of giving it back, permanently depriving the owner of their property.
The Crimes Act does not detail specific penalties for the offence of joy riding. Upon consideration of the circumstances surrounding the offence, past criminal history of the accused and their personal situation, the Court will use its discretion to impose the most appropriate penalty for the offender.
The Court may impose a full term custodial sentence in which an individual will be detained in gaol for a specified period of time. Home detention may also be ruled, in which the offender will be subject to electronic monitoring and will strictly supervised. Other penalties that may be enforced by the Court include non-custodial punishments such as intensive correction orders, community service orders or monetary penalties. In particular circumstances, the Court may even decide to deal with the matter by the means of a section 10, in which no criminal conviction will be recorded.
In order to be found guilty of joy riding, the prosecution will need to establish and prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:
- Without the consent of the owner or person in lawful possession of the conveyance;
- You took and drove, or took for the purpose of driving, or secreting, or obtaining a reward for the restoration or pretended restoration of a conveyance.
If the police is able to successfully prove these facts beyond a reasonable doubt, it is likely that you will face any of the above penalties imposed by the Court. Prior to these facts been proven, you have the ability to plead guilty or not guilty.
If you choose plead guilty to charges of joyriding, the case will proceed to sentencing where one of the above penalties will be enforced. However, pleading guilty is often demonstrates remorse, and a result less significant penalties are generally applied. As criminal defence lawyers, we can best advise you on whether it is in your best interest to plead guilty and the penalties associated if you decided to do so.
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Alternatively, you have the ability to plead not guilty if you wish to do so. If this happens, a brief of evidence will be served and contains the facts that the prosecution will use in order to convict you of the crime. When this brief of evidence is served, our criminal defence lawyers thoroughly examine the details. We will provide you with honest advice in relation to the case which may help determine whether you wish to continue with a not guilty plea, or change your plea to guilty. Following this, a hearing date will be set.
At the hearing, the evidence provided will be heard before the Court. The prosecution must use this evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the crime was committed. However, as criminal defence lawyers with years of experience in defending criminal charges, we will aim to disprove the allegations by cross examining the evidence and implementing the below defence strategies. If the prosecution is successful, penalties will be imposed. However, if our motions are successful, you will be found not guilty for the crime of joy riding. It is important to remember, some defences provide a full defence, in which charges will be dropped completely, however other defence strategies only provide a partial defence, in which charges will be downgraded, and typically a less serious punishment will be enforced.
Regardless of whether you decided plead guilty or not guilty, our Sydney and Parramatta based criminal defence lawyers at Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders will ensure that you case receives the preparation and consideration it requires to give you every chance of obtaining the best result possible.
Possible defences that our criminal defence lawyers may use to negate allegations of joy riding include:
Duress: Involves the use of unlawful pressure to encourage an individual to commit a criminal act, which they would not usually participate in, had a threat not been present. This coercion can take form of harmful threats such as death or grievous bodily harm in which the accused believes that if they do not participate in the activity it is likely the threat will be played out.
Self-Defence: Comprises of situations in which actions were taken to defend confrontations and harm by and unjust aggressor. Self defence occurs in circumstances in which the accused aims to protect property, themselves or another person from harm by the aggressor. Therefore, in the instance of joy riding, it may be argued that a car was stolen in order to get away from an aggressor who is perceived as harmful.
The offence of joy riding is generally classified as a table offence and therefore will be heard at a Local Court. However, in some instances, it may be dealt with at the District or Supreme Court if elected or deemed necessary.
While we are a Parramatta and Sydney based criminal law firm, Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders have a wealth of experience in defending criminal cases all over NSW. Therefore, we are able to effectively represent our clients regardless of the location. For a full list of Local Courts and to find the closest to you, click here.