Paramus NJ Auto Theft Defense Attorneys
Criminal Defense Lawyers in Bergen County, New Jersey
The term “auto theft” encompasses a variety of offenses involving the theft or unlawful taking of an automobile, not to be confused with “joyriding” or unauthorized use of an automobile. Notably, theft penalties are automatically enhanced when an automobile is involved. For instance, if you are convicted of auto theft, you could be sentenced to five (5) years in state prison, in addition to the other penalties discussed below.
At the Tormey Law Firm, our seasoned defense attorneys have been handling cases involving auto theft, carjacking, and burglary throughout New Jersey for years, including in Hackensack, Paramus, and Teaneck. In fact, some of our lawyers have also prosecuted these charges on behalf of the State and now use their training and expertise to defend our clients in court. Call us today at (201)-330-4979 for a free consultation about your case, and please continue reading this page for more information about auto theft charges in New Jersey.
Joyriding or Unauthorized Use of an Automobile in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:20-10
When a person takes an automobile with the intention of temporarily depriving the owner of the vehicle, it is typically charged as joyriding, not auto theft. Joyriding, or unauthorized use of an automobile, is governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:20-10, which provides, in pertinent part:
a. A person commits a disorderly persons offense if, with purpose to withhold temporarily from the owner, he takes, operates, or exercises control over any means of conveyance, other than a motor vehicle, without consent of the owner or other person authorized to give consent. “Means of conveyance” includes but is not limited to motor vehicles, bicycles, motorized bicycles, boats, horses, vessels, surfboards, rafts, skimobiles, airplanes, trains, trams and trailers. It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under subsections a., b. and c. of this section that the actor reasonably believed that the owner or any other person authorized to give consent would have consented to the operation had he known of it.
b. A person commits a crime of the fourth degree if, with purpose to withhold temporarily from the owner, he takes, operates or exercises control over a motor vehicle without the consent of the owner or other person authorized to give consent.
c. A person commits a crime of the third degree if, with purpose to withhold temporarily from the owner, he takes, operates or exercises control over a motor vehicle without the consent of the owner or other person authorized to give consent and operates the motor vehicle in a manner that creates a risk of injury to any person or a risk of damage to property.
d. A person commits a crime of the fourth degree if he enters and rides in a motor vehicle knowing that the motor vehicle has been taken or is being operated without the consent of the owner or other person authorized to consent.
Auto Theft in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3
Auto theft is addressed by New Jersey’s general theft statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3. The statute prohibits a person from taking an automobile with the intention of permanently depriving the owner of the vehicle. Unlike typical theft by unlawful taking charges, the grading and penalties for auto theft are not determined by the value of the property taken. Theft of an automobile by unlawful taking is, at a minimum, a third degree crime, punishable by a period of incarceration of between three (3) and five (5) years in New Jersey State Prison. An offender can also have his or her driver’s license suspended for a period of up to ten (10) years if convicted of this offense.
Call The Tormey Law Firm Today for a Free Consultation
If you need to speak with a Bergen County criminal defense attorney about your auto theft case, call the Hackensack offices of The Tormey Law Firm at (201)-330-4979 or toll-free at 800-292-8815. You can also fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation or an in-person appointment at our Bergen County office location. We will always provide you with all of the answers to your questions, a realistic assessment of your case, and an outline of the possible resolutions.