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Illegal use of motor vehicle (joy riding)

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Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555

John Sutton
Craig Robinson
Andrew Tiedt
Andrew Fraser
Russell Boyd
Mariah Maltezos
Sarah Marinovic
Michael Hempsall
Will Del Din
Will Del Din
Trudie Cameron

The maximum penalty for the charge of illegal use of motor vehicle (joy riding) (Section 154A of the Crimes Act) is 5 years imprisonment.

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for a Illegal use of motor vehicle (joy riding) charge.

You'll find a brief description of each of these penalties at the bottom of this page.

Local Court

Based on our experience and statistics from the Judicial Commission of New South Wales we believe that the penalty in a case that is within the mid range of seriousness for the offence of illegal use of motor vehicle (joy riding), if heard in the Local Court, is likely to be a suspended sentence with supervision under section 12 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act for a period of 2 years.

For first time offenders the likely penalty is a good behaviour bond under section 9 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act for a period of 12 months.

District Court

If the matter is finalised in the District Court the likely penalty is imprisonment for a period of 2 years.

For first time offenders the likely penalty is a good behaviour bond under section 9 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act for a period of 2 years.

Which court will hear your Illegal use of motor vehicle (Joy riding) charge in NSW:

This matter is a Table 2 offence which means that the DPP can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court. If no election is made it will be dealt with in the Local Court.

What is the law part and the short description?

On the police facts sheet and the court attendance notice that you may have received you will have a reference to the law part and a short description of offence. These references help the court and the legal profession to identify the exact offence you have been charged with. The law part and short description for this offence are set out in the table below:

Law Part Short Description
676 Take & drive conveyance without consent of owner-T2
677 Take conveyance for fraud purpose without consent of owner-T2
678 Be carried in conveyance taken without consent of owner-T2
679 Drive conveyance taken without consent of owner-T2

What the police must prove:

To convict you of a Illegal use of motor vehicle (joy riding) charge, the police must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. Without the consent of the owner or person in lawful possession of the conveyance.
  2. You took and drove, or took for the purpose of driving, or secreting, or obtaining a reward for the restoration or pretended restoration.
  3. A conveyance.

They will also need to prove that you were the person who committed the Illegal use of motor vehicle (joy riding) offence.

Possible defences for Illegal use of motor vehicle (Joy riding)

Possible defences to a Illegal use of motor vehicle (joy riding) charge include but are not limited to:

Types of penalties:

Section 10 for a use of Illegal use of motor vehicle (joy riding) charge: avoiding a criminal record. Normally, when you plead guilty to a criminal offence, the court imposes a penalty and records a conviction. If the court records a conviction, you will have a criminal record. However, if we can convince the court not to convict you, there will be no penalty of any type and no criminal record. In all criminal cases, the court has the discretion not to convict you, but to give you a Section 10 dismissal instead. Read more.

Fines for Illegal use of motor vehicle (joy riding) charge: When deciding the amount of a fine for a use of prohibited drugs charge the magistrate or judge should consider your financial situation and your ability to pay any fine they set. Read more.

Good behaviour bond for Illegal use of motor vehicle (joy riding) charge: This is an order of the court that requires you to be of good behaviour for a specified period of time. The court will impose conditions that you will have to obey during the term of the good behaviour bond. The maximum duration of a good behaviour bond is five years. Read more.

Community service order for Illegal use of motor vehicle (joy riding) charge (CSO): This involves either unpaid work in the community at a place specified by probation and parole or attendance at a centre to undertake a course, such as anger management. In order to be eligible for a CSO you have to be assessed by an officer of the probation service as suitable to undertake the order. Read more.

Suspended sentence for Illegal use of motor vehicle (joy riding) charge: This is a jail sentence that is suspended upon you entering into a good behaviour bond. Provided the terms of the good behaviour bond are obeyed the jail sentence will not come into effect. A suspended sentence is only available for sentences of imprisonment of up to two years. Read more.

Periodic detention for Illegal use of motor vehicle (joy riding) charge (commonly known as weekend detention): This form of imprisonment ceased to be a sentencing option in October 2010.

Intensive correction order for Illegal use of motor vehicle (joy riding) charge (ICO): This option has replaced periodic detention. The court can order you to comply with a number of conditions, such as attending counselling or treatment, not consuming alcohol, complying with a curfew and performing community service. Read more.

Jail for a use of prohibited drugs charge: This is the most serious penalty for the charge of Illegal use of motor vehicle (joy riding) charge and involves full time detention in a correctional facility. Read more.


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If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

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