Philadelphia Joyriding Lawyer
“Borrowing” someone’s car without permission, also known as “joyriding” in legal terms, is considered to be a crime in the state of Pennsylvania. In order for an individual to lawfully operate another person’s motor vehicle, one must obtain consent from the owner of that vehicle. If permission has not been granted, then the individual will be charged with “Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle.” As conviction may result in punishment and a criminal record, it is important to be vigilant about protecting your rights. The Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. has been successfully defending clients from criminal prosecution for over two decades. You may be next. But the only way we can help you is if you take the first step. Don’t wait, call today to schedule a free consultation
Joyriding is when a person takes a car temporarily, without the intent to keep or sell it. In Pennsylvania, a joyrider will be charged with Unauthorized Use of Automobiles (known as “Unauthorized Use”). This is a misdemeanor of the second degree, and is punishable by up to two years in jail. The Pennsylvania legislature defines this as follows:
3928 Unauthorized Use of Automobiles and Other Vehicles
- Offense Defined – A person is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree if he operates the automobile, airplane, motorcycle, motorboat, or other motor-propelled vehicle of another without consent of the owner.
- Defense – It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the actor reasonably believed that the owner would have consented to the operation had he known of it.
It is important to note that, in situations where you believed you could have used the car, you can provide a defense if the owner of the car would have given you permission to use the car at the time you were driving it, even though the owner did not give express permission for you to use the car. An example of such a situation is when an employee uses a company car during company time, but doesn’t get his boss to give him permission. If the employee believed that he could drive the car to conduct company business, then he can present this as a defense in court.
Most unauthorized use cases, however, are cases of someone breaking into a car and then using it for a small period of time before they leave it somewhere. Under this scenario, you need effective representation so that the prosecutors do not charge you with other serious offenses, such as theft or carjacking.
Failing to Return a Rental Car Is also Unauthorized Use
Failure to return a rental car is also considered unauthorized use of an automobile. There are times when a person decides to keep a rental car for an extra day. While this is usually not a problem, if you keep a rental car for too many days, the rental car company can revoke your right to have the car.
Many of these cases result from a person keeping their rental car for a week or more after they were supposed to turn their car in. A person is charged when he or she fails to return their rental car and does not stay in contact with the rental car company, or repeatedly tells the rental company they will return the car, but fails to do so multiple times.
Contact an Attorney Today to Identify Your Options
It is also important to remember that you can be charged with many of the offenses above for what is ultimately only one incident. As such, you need to be vigilant about protecting your rights. An experienced criminal defense attorney can identify if there are any defenses you can use to fight the charges or obtain a favorable resolution of the case. The criminal defense lawyers at The Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. have decades of experiences defending those accused of crimes.
If you have been accused of joyriding or failing to return your rental car, contact the criminal defense lawyers at Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. today for a free consultation.
This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.