While there are many types of serious theft-related crimes, those associated with motor vehicles often get the most attention. Grand theft auto, for example, is a serious theft-related crime that can result in hefty consequences, such as prison time in New York.
However, it's possible that you were charged with grand theft auto, despite the fact that you were simply taking a vehicle for a "joyride."
There are many differences between grand theft auto and joyriding, with the primary one being the amount of time you intend to keep the vehicle. For example, joyriding comes into play when you take a car without permission, but have no intention of permanently depriving the owner.
Conversely, grand theft auto is when you take a car without permission, with the idea of permanently depriving the owner.
The right defense strategy
Even if you're charged with grand theft auto, you may be able to take steps to prove that this wasn't your intention.
For example, joyriding typically comes in the form of a teenager taking their parents' or a friend's vehicle without permission. Even though it's a bad choice, since the teen had the intention of returning the vehicle, it's not grand theft auto.
On the other side of things, if police find the vehicle at a chop-shop or during an attempted sale, it's much more clear that there was no intention of returning it.
Either crime is a serious offense
It goes without saying that grand theft auto is more serious than joyriding, but remember this: Either one can result in either a misdemeanor or felony charge, which carry penalties as serious as jail time. Furthermore, with one of these crimes on your record, it's more difficult to land a job and secure insurance coverage.
Since grand theft auto and joyriding are both serious crimes, don't wait a single day to learn more about your charges and the defense strategy you can use to minimize the impact on your life.
Forget about what's happened in the past, and turn your attention to protecting your legal rights. The right approach can be the difference between a conviction and putting this in the past without any additional consequences.