Grand Theft Auto: When It’s Not Just A Game For Your Teen
Taking a car without their parent’s knowledge may seem like a minute infraction to a teen, but it’s a serious crime. The repercussions and dangers associated with joyriding are far from childlike mischief and can often pose deadly threats to innocent victims of the crime.
The leading cause of death among teens is motor vehicle accidents and joyriding is a contributing factor to the statistics. Teens eager to get behind the wheel before they’ve obtained their driver’s license are taking their parent’s vehicles without their knowledge. After picking up a group of friends, they’ll use the car to drive around the neighborhood and visit their favorite hangouts. Besides the excitement, most teens hope to take and return the vehicle before anyone ever finds out.
Because joyriders are reckless and have zero respect for the law, they are at risk for harming themselves and other innocent parties in their path. Since they’ve stolen the vehicle and may have caused destruction and mayhem, your teen is also in danger of being severely punished by the law. As noted by a group of Houston criminal lawyers,”One of the most devastating things a parent can go through is having a child be arrested for a crime. Questions and concerns over their future and the forthcoming legal process can be overwhelming.”
It’s more common now to hear that teens involved in joyriding accidents were killed. The teens behind the wheel are without their driver’s license and have no experience or schooling on the laws of the road. This lack of knowledge and their immaturity can be a deadly combination and can result in traffic accidents, property damage, injuries and fatalities. Innocent parties are typically the victims in most joyriding accidents. Whether they’re an innocent party trying to cross the road or someone driving home with the family from a party, they’ve become victims of joyriding teens at the helm of these dangerous accidents.
The crime for joyriding is typically a misdemeanor since the teen’s intent was to take the vehicle for an evening, as opposed to permanently stealing it. Because most offenders are under age, it’s typically classified as a juvenile offense and easy to prove. If the police get wind of the joyriding, a police chase can ensue and cause the teens to drive recklessly to escape the pursuit. Dependent on the teen’s past criminal record, punishment can be anywhere from probation to jail time.
The other passengers in the car can also be prosecuted; even though they were unaware the car was stolen at the time. This can cause major angst for families of the joyrider as well as the innocent parties attached to the accident. If injuries or fatalities occur, the victim and their family’s lives can be altered forever. Lawsuits, jail and fines can have also have a crippling financial effect for all involved.
There are a number of defenses an experienced and trusted criminal attorney can take that includes lack of knowledge in knowing that the vehicle was taken. However, if injuries and fatalities occur, your teen may still be faced with serious punishments for their poor judgment.
The risk of teen accidents increases dramatically when an unlicensed individual gets behind the wheel of a car for an evening of joyriding. Parents can do their part by talking to their teen and emphasizing the dangers associated with handling a vehicle before they are legally ready to do so.
Having a nephew near the legal driving age gives Nadine Swayne the insight to present this article. Johnson, Johnson & Baer are Houston criminal lawyers in Texas that can assist clients facing charges for joyriding and auto theft. With over 50 years of collective experience, they believe in upholding the ideal of “innocent until proven guilty.”
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/statefarm/7838239486/
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