Unlawful Use of Means of Transportation (Auto Theft) – Joyriding

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Whether in the Phoenix area, or anywhere in Arizona, per ARS §13-1803 “Unlawful Use of Means of Transportation” or “Joyriding / Borrowing Without Permission” occurs when a person, without the intent to permanently deprive, knowingly takes unauthorized control of another person’s vehicle. In short, this can be more commonly known as: stealing a car, car theft, grand theft auto and auto theft.

You can be charged with this crime not only if you are the driver, but also if you are a passenger in a car and you know, or have a reason to know, that the driver is in unlawful possession of that vehicle. Unlawful possession usually occurs when a vehicle has been stolen or is being used in a way that the owner did not give permission for it to be used. Joyriding is lesser included offense of Auto-theft, and the punishments are less severe if convicted of Unlawful Means of Transportation instead of Auto-theft. Thus, we will always try to negotiate with the prosecutor to charge the lesser offense of Joyriding rather than the harsher charge of Auto-theft.

Contact David Michael Cantor if you have been charged with Unlawful Use of Means of Transportation / Joyriding. Call Us Day or Night – 602-307-0808.

Possible Punishment for Unlawful Use of Means of Transportation/Joyriding

One of the most often used defenses to Unlawful Use of Means of Transportation / Joyriding is the lack of knowledge by the defendant that the car is being unlawfully used. This can be a defense for both the driver of the vehicle (he thought he had permission), and for a passenger (he thought the driver had permission). For example, a group may pull up in a vehicle to pick-up a person, and that person may have no knowledge that the vehicle is actually stolen. If the defendant assumes the person driving has permission to drive the vehicle, then he would not be guilty of being a passenger in a “known” illegally borrowed vehicle.

Here is an example for a defendant who was the driver: Person B has “borrowed” a car from his Uncle U. Person B then tells defendant “this is my uncle’s car that I am using for the week, you drive.” Again, if the defendant did not have knowledge that Uncle never gave permission, then the defendant is not illegally joyriding. Remember, the prosecutor can charge this crime even if this car is a relative’s vehicle if the relative did not give permission for the driver to take the car. It is important to interview all parties present who may have information about the circumstances surrounding the incident or the relationship between the parties in order to show that the defendant did not actually have knowledge that the person who presented him with the car was doing so unlawfully.

In order to fight this Unlawful Use of Means of Transportation / Joyriding charge, and any other criminal charges that you might face, as your attorneys we would assert a number of various other defenses designed to protect your constitutional rights. One of those we frequently assert is a “Miranda rights violation.” In Arizona, the standard of whether any inculpatory statement (i.e., a statement which tends to admit guilt) is admissible into evidence is based upon a “voluntariness” standard. If we can demonstrate that the police coerced you (i.e., intimidated or tricked you) into making a confession or inculpatory statement, or that they did not read you your rights, then we can suppress those statements and any evidence gathered as a direct result of those statements. In addition, the “denial of right to Counsel” is another common defense which is often raised. This occurs when a suspect is in custody and requests to speak to their attorney, but is denied and questioning continues.

Other defenses for Unlawful Use of Means of Transportation / Joyriding may include challenging the validity of any search warrant, or whether there were any “forensic flaws” during the investigation of your case. Depending on what else you have been charged with, forensic flaws could include exposing flawed procedures regarding blood, breath, and urine testing; fingerprints analysis; DNA testing; ballistics; gunshot residue testing; computer analysis/”cloning hard drive” procedures; forensic financial accounting reviews; etc. Lastly, one of the most common defense tactics is exposing sloppy or misleading police reports which include everything from misstatements, false statements, flawed photo line-ups and inaccurate crime scene reconstruction. It is important to hire a skilled Unlawful Use of Means of Transportation/Joyriding lawyer to defend you who has knowledge of all the possible defenses to assert in your case.

Note: If you have not been charged with Unlawful Use of Means of Transportation yet, but the police are in the “pre-charge investigation stage” of your case – Click Here.

David Cantor is a Certified Criminal Law Specialist familiar with cases involving stolen vehicles. In addition, the Firm and all of its lawyers are listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers®. At DM Cantor, the majority of our Attorneys are ex-Prosecutors, and all of our Phoenix Joyriding Lawyers know the system well. For a Free Initial Consultation, call us at 602-307-0808, or click here to contact us now.

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