Whether your child has been charged with a criminal offense previously, or this is the first time they have ever been arrested, chances are you are extremely worried about the outcome. No one ever wants to get that call, hearing that their child—of any age—has been handcuffed and is heading to the police station, or that they are already being held in jail. Many kids are one-time offenders or are able to turn their lives around impressively, so a charge for a crime like car theft must be handled very carefully, and with the assistance of a skilled attorney from a firm like the Dolan Law Offices.
Parents have a difficult time managing children who get in with a bad crowd and start committing crimes at a young age. Sometimes, these children are well behaved in every other aspect of their lives but couldn’t say no or wanted to impress an older child. Theft regarding a minor can result in more moderate charges due to their young age, particularly if it is a first-time offense. If they have been charged with something as serious as car theft though, there is the chance that their life could change seriously, and not in a positive manner.
In many cases, when a child or a group of children take off in the car, it is a joy-riding event—defined by law simply as the ‘unlawful taking of a vehicle.’ While kids are known to be impulsive and unpredictable, joy riding often includes several teens taking off with a car that belongs to someone they know. Usually, they are hoping to return the car before they are found out—taking off to party with friends during the night or they may ‘borrow’ a parent’s second car while they are at work.
When a juvenile is being charged, other factors may come into play also, such as the duration of the time that the car was taken, if there were guns or any other weapons involved, the ages of the kids, how many were involved, and what type of car or vehicle was taken. And while joyriding is a much lesser offense, prosecutors could have the option of charging them with grand theft auto instead. This type of event, however, usually involving a deliberate plan for theft and sometimes even the intent to sell a vehicle to a chop shop. Joyriding may result in minor penalties, including fines and even a year or more in jail, but grand theft auto usually results in jail or prison time and fines that could be massive.
No matter the case, your child should have legal representation quickly, and should never be left to speak with law enforcement alone. In the end, there may be an easy defense if your child had permission to use a car, the event was just a mix-up, or there was no evidence against your child or their friends in such a scenario.
If your child has been arrested, please call the Dolan Law Offices now. We will listen carefully to your concerns, review your case, and offer advice based on many years of experience. John Patrick Dolan understands California’s complex criminal defense laws and our office will provide the experience you need to help you fight for your rights and best interests. Call us at (760) 775-3739 or contact us online as soon as possible.