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. This can also occur if the person is a passenger in a car and they know or have reason to know that the driver is in unlawful possession of that vehicle.
Possible Punishment for Unlawful Use of Means of Transportation
If the person is actually driving the vehicle, then they can be charged with a class (five) 5 felony. For a first offense class five (5) felony, carries the range of punishment from probation with zero (0) days in jail up to one (1) year in jail; or a range of prison of six (6) months to two and one half (2.5) years of incarceration. If a person has one (1) allegeable historical prior conviction, then the “prison only” range can be one (1) year to three and three quarter (3.75) years of incarceration. If the person has two (2) allegeable historical prior convictions, then the “prison only” range is three (3) years to seven and one half (7.5) years of incarceration.
If the person is merely a passenger in a car that is being unlawfully used, then they can be charged with a class six (6) felony. The range of punishment for a first offense is probation with zero (0) days in jail up to one (1) year in jail; or prison of four (4) months to two (2) years of incarceration. If the person has one (1) allegeable historical prior conviction, then the “prison only” range is nine (9) months to two and three quarter (2.75) years of incarceration. If the person has two (2) allegeable historical prior convictions, then the “prison only” range is two and one quarter (2.25) years to five and three quarter (5.75) years of incarceration.
Possible Defenses for Unlawful Use of Means of Transportation
One of the most often seen defenses to Unlawful Use of Means of Transportation / Joyriding is “Lack of Knowledge”. 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. In other words, if they assume the person driving it has permission to drive the vehicle, then they would not be guilty of being a passenger in a “known” illegally borrowed vehicle. This same scenario can occur when the person who has “borrowed” the car then asks another person to drive and states “this is my uncle’s car, you drive”. Again, if the Defendant did not have knowledge, then the Defendant is not illegally Joyriding. Remember, the Prosecutor can charge this crime even if this car is a relative’s vehicle (such as an uncle) if that person did not give permission for the driver to take the car. It is important to interview all parties present in order to show that the Defendant did not actual have knowledge that the person who presented him with the car was doing so unlawfully.
The “Common Defenses” for Unlawful Use of Means of Transportation / Joyriding, which a defense attorney may apply in any criminal case, are numerous and diverse. One of most common defenses we encounter 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 properly read you your Miranda Rights, then we can suppress those statements and any evidence gathered as a direct result of those statements.
In addition, “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 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 you have been charged with, this 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 defenses 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 both the specific defenses and the common defenses involved in an Unlawful Use of Means of Transportation/Joyriding case.