Teenagers, much to the horror of parents like you, are more open to taking risks in an effort to satisfy their thirst for adventure and fit in with their peers. Joyriding, or teen auto theft, ranks among the most common juvenile crimes in Florida. However, there’s nothing joyful about it. The adrenaline rush that comes from driving a stolen car can encourage reckless behavior in teens, potentially putting their lives and those of others at risk.
When joyrides go wrong
Joyrides can quickly spiral into disaster. Teens, as young as 13 to 15, get behind the wheel of someone else’s car to show off or respond to a dare. The rush from having access to a vehicle might then encourage risky behaviors such as speeding, swerving or distracted driving.
The thrill doesn’t last very long. Lack of experience can lead to a loss of control, resulting in devastating crashes. Many joyrides end in death, with parents left devastated.
Penalties for theft of a motor vehicle
In Florida, joyride is more than harmless teenage rebellion. It is against the law. Joyriding or the unauthorized use of a vehicle can fall under grand theft as it deprives the owner of their property. Grand theft is a crime punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and $5,000 fines.
Penalties may escalate depending on the value of the stolen vehicle and whether it was an instrument in other crimes. “Borrowing” a vehicle worth between $20,000 and $100,000 may result in a fine of up to $10,000 and up to fifteen years in prison.
The legal consequences of a criminal conviction can have a lasting impact on the life of a teenager, affecting their educational prospects, career aspirations and overall future.
Protecting your child’s future
Teen joyriding is an unlawful, risky activity that can lead to serious consequences. As a parent, you play a pivotal role in guiding your child to make the right decisions. Otherwise, a momentary thrill might result in a lifetime of guilt.
If your teenage child is facing criminal charges, acting immediately may help safeguard their future.