Joy Riding

Use of a Vehicle Without Authority

Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 §24(2)(a), it is a crime to knowingly use a motor vehicle without authority. In other words, this statute makes “joyriding” a criminal offense. There are three elements that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict a defendant of this crime. Firstly, the prosecutor has to prove that the defendant used a motor vehicle. “Using” a vehicle means riding in it, and this includes being a driver or a passenger. “Use” requires that the vehicle move in some way. Secondly, it must be proven that the defendant did so without the owner’s permission or the permission of someone who had the legal right of control. This element is typically proven through testimony of the owner. Finally, the prosecutor has to prove that at the time the defendant used the vehicle, he or she knew that he or she was not authorized to do so. This is an actual knowledge requirement, and presence in the car, by itself, cannot support an inference of such knowledge. The knowledge element is particularly important when the defendant was a passenger in the vehicle.

The difference between use of a motor vehicle without authority and larceny of a motor vehicle is that the latter requires proof of intent to permanently deprive the owner of possession. This crime is a lesser included offense of larceny of a motor vehicle and is a misdemeanor for a first offense.

Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Crimes Defense Attorney: 617 973 5858

If you have been charged with use of a vehicle without authority, skilled representation will be critical to a successful outcome. Joyriding charges are very defensible, particularly where the defendant was a passenger. The lawyer that you choose will make the key difference in your case. Robert J. Wheeler, Jr. has been practicing criminal defense for his entire career, a span of 30 years. He is an outstanding and well–known attorney who can provide you with the best defense possible. He is aggressive on behalf of his clients and attentive to their concerns. Attorney Wheeler offers rare talent and skill, tireless diligence, and exceptional client service.

To speak with him about any criminal matter, call the Law Office of Robert J. Wheeler, Jr. at 617 973 5858 or contact him online by sending an e–mail. You can reach his office day or night, weekday or weekend.