Only an Experienced Attorney Should Plead a Joyriding Charge

In Virginia, joyriding, or the unauthorized use of a motor vehicle by a teenager—whether or not he possesses a valid license, is a surprisingly common crime. In fact, some indulgent adults consider this to be a teen “rite of passage.” After all, what 16-year-old doesn't want to snatch his dad's keys and “borrow” the Corvette for a quick drive around the block, or take his friend's SUV out for a quick spin while no one's looking?

Most instances of joyriding in Virginia go completely unreported. The teen takes the vehicle out for a drive and brings it back, and no one is any the wiser. To be nabbed on a joyriding charge in Virginia—which is a class-one misdemeanor—the offending teen actually has to be caught on the road by the police, or reported to the police by the car's owner, in which case the teen may find himself arrested hours or days after he's already brought the car back. In the worst cases, the teen is involved in an accident while on the road, at which point an innocent prank turns into a tragic mistake (especially if any injuries or deaths are involved).

Only an experienced attorney can put an incident of joyriding into its proper context: The kid made a bad choice, he didn't know any better, his parents left the keys out in full sight, or (and this one’s a line that traffic judges hear surprisingly often) “we were all young once.” If the car of a complete stranger is involved, the argument needs to be even more persuasive, lest the “innocent” teen wind up being charged with car theft.

Have questions? Call the experienced Virginia traffic attorneys at Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman at 888-783-9701 for a free consultation today.

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