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Driving a Car Without Consent

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 18 Mar 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Joyriding Without Consent Driving

Driving a car without consent is commonly known as joyriding. In the eyes of the law this is regarded as theft and there are a number of fines and punishments that can be imposed by the courts.

Joyriding in the UK

Taking and driving another person’s car is a common crime in the UK. The crime is commonly associated with young males, and around 10,000 cases of taking a vehicle without consent are reported each year. Although the age of joy riders is usually between 17 to 25 years, children as young as 10 years old have been caught driving motor vehicles. As the majority of perpetrators of this crime are young and inexperienced drivers the result can often be serious accidents. Joyriding can cause serious harm within a community and has been the cause of many deaths due to reckless driving and speeding.

The Law and Taking a Vehicle without Consent

Taking a vehicle without consent is committed when the perpetrator takes a vehicle for their own use without the vehicle owner’s permission. This offence can also apply when another person knows that a vehicle has been taken without consent and then travels in or drives the vehicle. Taking a vehicle without consent can lead to a maximum prison sentence of six months and/or a maximum fine of £5,000. Judges can also use their own discretion in deciding to impose a driving disqualification.

Aggravated Vehicle Taking and the Law

Aggravated vehicle taking is an offence that occurs when a vehicle is taken without the owner’s permission and is combined with other offences. These offences will take place after the vehicle was stolen and can include damage to the vehicle. Aggravating factors can also include damage to property caused by the driver, and dangerous driving that causes harm to other road users and the public. The subsequent offences are the aggravating factors and are the reason why fines and punishments are more severe. This crime can be tried at either the Crown Court or Magistrates Court.

Aggravated Vehicle Taking, Punishments and Fines

The punishments for aggravated vehicle taking will be dependant on the subsequent offences during the crime. Punishments will also be dependent on whether the crime is tried at the Crown or Magistrate’s Court. A maximum six months prison sentence and/or a fine of up to £5,000 can be imposed by the Magistrate’s Court. The Crown Court can impose a maximum two year prison sentence or 14 years prison sentence if a death was caused during the crime.

Possible Offences during Joyriding

There are a number of different offences that can and do take place when cars are taken without permission. These can include:

  • Speeding
  • Dangerous and reckless driving
  • Hit and run incidents
  • Leaving the scene of a crime
  • Damage to property
  • Death by dangerous driving
  • Driving under the influence of Drink and/or Drugs
  • Driving without a licence or insurance

Punishment Options Open to the Courts

There are a number of different punishments and fines available to the courts when it comes to joyriding. The final punishment will be down to the seriousness of the crime and aggravating factors. Prison sentences, community penalties and hefty fines can be imposed as well as driving bans. Sitting an extended driving test can also be an option that judges may impose on drivers facing a disqualification. Young offenders between the age of 12 and 16 years can be held on remand while awaiting trial.

Taking a Family Vehicle without Consent

In the eyes of the law it makes no difference if the vehicle that is taken without permission is a family car. This will still be classed as theft and the police will try to prosecute. Taking a family or friend’s vehicle without consent can mean a court case and a criminal record. There may be special reasons why this happened and a solicitor will be the best course of action for advice and information.

The courts and the police do view joyriding as a very serious offence especially if aggravating factors come into play. Joyriding has been the cause of much misery and many deaths in the UK including the deaths of children. The government and the police have a number of initiatives in place and planned for the future to curb this serious crime.

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[Add a Comment]
Quinny - Your Question:
My wife out of character took my mobility car without insurance and crashed it she was also drink driving. She is 40 and we have been through so much. Does anyone know if I should press charges so the insurance claim can go through. Can she get jail the policewoman said she won't. Nobody was hurt but the car is a write off. This is going to destroy us we need advice we have 2 kids well 3 but 1 sadly died I can't lose her.

Our Response:
We really can't give you advice on what you should do here. It might be worth speaking to a legal professional about this.
NoPenaltyPoints - 20-Mar-18 @ 12:38 PM
My wife out of character took my mobility car without insurance and crashed it she was also drink driving. She is 40 and we have been through so much . Does anyone know if i should press charges so the insurance claim can go through. Can she get jail the policewoman said she won't.Nobody was hurt but the car is a write off. This is going to destroy us we need advice we have 2 kids well 3 but 1 sadly died I can't lose her .
Quinny - 18-Mar-18 @ 8:05 PM
My son friend took my car without constent and crash it beyond repair insurance company wont pay out althogh hes been charged with that offence. But i put stolen down istead of taken without consent. Any help would be great thanks...
Jim - 18-Feb-18 @ 10:52 AM
Dutchess- Your Question:
I have a motorbility car. My daughter is my nominated driver and keeps the car at her house for safety. Her partner took the spare key while she was out. And took car. He was stopped and arrested. He has been charged with two, under influence of drugs no licence or insurance. Can anyone tell me what sort of sentence he will get. Would it be points on his none existent licence, fine or is he looking at a prison sentence. I'm worried for my daughter. Thank you for any advice anyone can give me.

Our Response:
We can't really say what a judge would decide in terms of a sentence; it could be a and hefty fine or even a jail sentence.
NoPenaltyPoints - 18-Dec-17 @ 10:13 AM
I have a motorbility car. My daughter is my nominated driver and keeps the car at her house for safety. Her partner took the spare key while she was out. And took car. He was stopped and arrested. He has been charged with two, under influence of drugs no licence or insurance. Can anyone tell me what sort of sentence he will get. Would it be points on his none existent licence, fine or is he looking at a prison sentence. I'm worried for my daughter. Thank you for any advice anyone can give me.
Dutchess - 15-Dec-17 @ 1:14 AM
Aitch - Your Question:
Anyone with any help would be appreciated.I allowed a car garage to sell my car sale or return.They assured me in writing the car would be insured and kept in their premises at all times and should I collect it my car would be returned to me in the same condition which I have it them.Having it not sold I went to collect it.The car was filthy, they had damaged it and put nearly 2000 miles on the clock, what can/should I do.I have no idea where to go with this?

Our Response:
The small claims court might be the easiest way of reclaiming something from this.
NoPenaltyPoints - 3-Nov-17 @ 2:06 PM
Anyone with any help would be appreciated. I allowed a car garage to sell my car sale or return. They assured me in writing the car would be insured and kept in their premises at all times and should I collect it my car would be returned to me in the same condition which I have it them. Having it not sold I went to collect it. The car was filthy, they had damaged it and put nearly 2000 miles on the clock, what can/should I do. I have no idea where to go with this?
Aitch - 2-Nov-17 @ 8:06 PM
Laine - Your Question:
Hi, I had my car sorn off the road while I took a break from driving lessons. It's uninsured as well. My brother was stealing my mother's keys and breaking into her car at night to ride it. She then lost her keys. To prevent my own car being stolen I left the keys around someone else's house, but today I found that my car has been moved, smells of weed and the seats are moved, so I know my brother is breaking into and driving my car illegally. He's 18 and doesn't have a license, if I phone the police will I have a valid case? What else can I do?

Our Response:
You may have a case, it's certainly worth contacting the police.
NoPenaltyPoints - 20-Oct-17 @ 11:14 AM
Hi, I had my car sorn off the road while I took a break from driving lessons. It's uninsured as well. My brother was stealing my mother's keys and breaking into her car at night to ride it. She then lost her keys. To prevent my own car being stolen I left the keys around someone else's house, but today I found that my car has been moved, smells of weed and the seats are moved, so I know my brother is breaking into and driving my car illegally. He's 18 and doesn't have a license, if I phone the police will I have a valid case? What else can I do?
Laine - 17-Oct-17 @ 6:52 PM
HWD! - Your Question:
Someone please help. I took my mums car out without her permission while she was on holiday. I crashed the car after I swerved out the way of someone who slammed on in front of me. No other drivers were involved it is just my mums car with damage. I had taken out a pay as you go insurance previously but the policy hadn't gone through when I crashed. Due to an error on the app it went through after I crashed. My mum is calling her insurance to tell them I took the car without permission and crashed uninsured. Ive got this horrible feeling I'm going to end up in court and going to jail. someone help me.

Our Response:
We can't really advise you on this. Yes you will probably have to attend court, it's an extremely serious offence. Citizens' Advice may be able to give you some ideas of whether you can find legal assistance etc.
NoPenaltyPoints - 17-Oct-17 @ 9:48 AM
Someone please help.I took my mums car out without her permission while she was on holiday.I crashed the car after i swerved out the way of someone who slammed on in front of me. No other drivers were involved it is just my mums car with damage. I had taken out a pay as you go insurance previously but the policy hadn't gone through when i crashed.Due to an error on the app it went through after i crashed.My mum is calling her insurance to tell them i took the car without permission and crashed uninsured.Ive got this horrible feeling I'm going to end up in court and going to jail.someone help me.
HWD! - 16-Oct-17 @ 12:18 AM
Our friend visited us from Germany and he had driven our car without our consent as we were at work and he was staying at our house and in the space of 4 days he was caught twice speeding at 35mph on a 30mph zone. However, he had admitted and when we received a letter regarding the speeding offence, we spent back with the alleged driver at the time, but for the second offence we didn't receive anything to respond too. A couple of months later we received a letter saying he had failed to respond and that we are to appear in court. The alleged driver he back in Germany and he has written a letter taking responsibility and to prove this he has sent a copy of his passport. My question is firstly will the court accept his letter of responsibility and who will be fined and given points? will it be us since the vehicle is registered in our name...
Jb - 24-Aug-17 @ 3:38 PM
leanne348 - Your Question:
Hi, my sons dad took my car while I was asleep. Ran a woman over, while banned, uninsured etc. He is now saying I let him have the keys, the police have asked if I want to change my statement saying I didn't give him the keys but I didn't. What will happen? If I don't go court will it be thrown out? He is looking at a long prison sentence if he is done for it but I don't want to lie and say I did give him them as don't want to get in trouble but don't want my son knowing I was one of the reasons he doesn't see his dad

Our Response:
You should tell the truth. Your son's dad has still committed a crime, so the outcome will not be much different for him either way. If it's believed you allowed him to use the vehicle while banned/uninsured etc, then you could end up being penalised yourself and that wouldn't benefit your son either.
NoPenaltyPoints - 8-Aug-17 @ 10:14 AM
Hi, my sons dad took my car while I was asleep. Ran a woman over, while banned, uninsured etc. He is now saying I let him have the keys, the police have asked if I want to change my statement saying I didn't give him the keys but I didn't. What will happen? If I don't go court will it be thrown out? He is looking at a long prison sentence if he is done for it but I don't want to lie and say I did give him them as don't want to get in trouble but don't want my son knowing I was one of the reasons he doesn't see his dad
leanne348 - 5-Aug-17 @ 5:44 AM
pee17 - Your Question:
Please any advise? I am running out of time to respond and I have no clue what to do. A friend visiting from Africa, took my car without my consent while I was sleeping. Got a speeding ticket. He has since returned a such a dilemma.Full details of my question below.

Our Response:
If the car had been taken without your consent, rather than waiting for him to return, reporting it missing to the police would have strengthened your case. If you want to contest this in court, it might be better to seek advice from a legal professional due to the theft implication/allowing someone else to drive your car etc.
NoPenaltyPoints - 22-Jun-17 @ 12:44 PM
Please any advise? I am running out of time to respond and I have no clue what to do.... A friend visiting from Africa, took my car without my consent while i was sleeping. Got a speeding ticket. He has since returned a such a dilemma. Full details of my question below.
pee17 - 20-Jun-17 @ 3:27 PM
suedd - Your Question:
Need some advice badly!! I have a motability vehicle and it was left at my sister in laws house by my son as he was going on holiday and I wasn't driving because I had been in hospital. My sister in law decided to take the car out without my knowledge believing she was insured as she has a fully comp insurance policy. Unfortunately a van crashed into the back of the car causing a lot of damage to my vehicle. When she came back to my house with the car she said she had panicked at the scene and given my details to the police and I would have to say I was the driver otherwise we would all be in trouble. I felt very pressurised to go along with this as she is both my sister in law and my primary carer ( I have parkinsons disease) I have felt very uneasy about this and she has dealt with most of the letters and phone calls ( I think she has pretended to even be me on several occasions, although I can't prove it) It has now come to light that my name is not on the police report and the other driver has queried the driver of my vehicles name and requested identification, It's a real mess and I am at my wits end and the stress is making my illness worse.Like I said she was crashed into, that bit wasn't her fault and the other driver has been prosecuted for driving without due care and attention. I am getting pressured from all sides to " do the right thing" which from one side is to come clean to motibility/insurance company, report her for " TWOCKING" and see what ensues to the other side "how can you be so mean, she will lose her licence and end up with a big fine or even a prison sentence and after all she has done for you. (She is now one of the worst most uncaring people you could wish to meet since she began a new relationship) and she has left me high and dry many times and treats me merely as her employer and not even a friend never mind a family member these days. Sorry to rant on but I am so frightened I am going to be the one who comes out the biggest loser in all this -- no car, no motability,no DLA, a big bill for the car being fixed and a fine and/or a prison sentence for fraud. HELP PLEASE SOMEONE !!

Our Response:
We can't really help with the moral dilemma but the correct legal thing to do would be to simply tell the truth.
NoPenaltyPoints - 25-May-17 @ 2:23 PM
Need some advice badly!! I have a motability vehicle and it was left at my sister in lawshouse by my son as he was going on holiday and I wasn't driving because I had been in hospital. My sister in law decided to take the car out without my knowledge believing she was insured as she has a fully comp insurance policy. Unfortunately a van crashed into the back of the car causinga lot of damage to my vehicle. When she came back to my house with the car she said she had panicked at the scene and given my details to the police and I would have to say I was the driver otherwise we would all be in trouble. I felt very pressurised to go along with this as she is both my sister in law and my primary carer ( I have parkinsons disease) I have felt very uneasy about this and she has dealt with most of the letters and phone calls ( I think she has pretended to even be me on several occasions, although I can't prove it) It has now come to light that my name is not on the police report and the other driver has queried the driver of my vehicles name and requested identification, It's a real mess and I am at my wits end and the stress is making my illness worse.Like I said she was crashed into, that bit wasn't her fault and the other driver has been prosecuted for driving without due care and attention. I am getting pressured from all sides to " do the right thing" which from one side is to come clean to motibility/insurance company, report her for " TWOCKING" and see what ensues to the other side "how can you be so mean, she will lose her licence and end up with a big fine or even a prison sentence and after all she has done for you. (She is now one of the worst most uncaring people you could wish to meet since she began a new relationship) and she has left me high and dry many times and treats me merely as her employer and not even a friend never mind a family member these days. Sorry to rant on but I am so frightened i am going to be the one who comes out the biggest loser in all this -- no car, no motability,no DLA, a big bill for the car being fixed and a fine and/or a prison sentence for fraud. HELP PLEASE SOMEONE !!
suedd - 24-May-17 @ 12:24 AM
Jade - Your Question:
Hi, my partner took my car last night whilst I was asleep to go to the shop. He isn't insured and already has 16 points and he is on a suspended sentence for affray. I got a phone call from the police saying my car had been involved in an incident by failing to stop for the police. They have brought me some papers asking me to write down who was driving. They knew it wasn't me. Can I deny knowledge of who took my car as it was late at night and I was actually in bed

Our Response:
If you were genuinely asleep, you can claim that you were unaware who was driving. The police will however, find out that it was your partner one way or the other (especially as it's unlikely anyone else had access to the keys), so it's probably worth acknowledging that it was probably your partner. He will (justfiably) be punished for this.
NoPenaltyPoints - 22-Feb-17 @ 12:34 PM
Hi, my partner took my car last night whilst I was asleep to go to the shop. He isn't insured and already has 16 points and he is on a suspended sentence for affray. I got a phone call from the police saying my car had been involved in an incident by failing to stop for the police. They have brought me some papers asking me to write down who was driving. They knew it wasn't me. Can I deny knowledge of who took my car as it was late at night and I was actually in bed
Jade - 19-Feb-17 @ 8:09 PM
Hi I got a speeding ticket but I was not the driver it was one of my friend from Germany took my car without my permission now I have passed on his details but they wrote me a letter asking me for if he was insured on my car or not and they wrote in letter if he was not insurred then I can get points and fine because of use of car without valid insurance any suggestion please really looking forward to it thanks
Shaks - 30-Jan-17 @ 9:11 PM
Anna had bumped into her ex boyfriend who had suggested they should go back to his flat.He said he wanted to try and work things out between them.However whilst they were walking to his parked car he had become very aggressive, jealous and threatening. Because she was scared she had grabbed the keys from his hand, jumped into his car and drove off without him. She had driven 10 miles and was close to her own home when she was stopped by the police. Her ex boyfriend had already reported the car stolen.Anna was claiming in her defence that she had driven the car out of necessity as she was in fear that her ex would have hurt her if she had refused to go with him.
macca - 19-Jan-17 @ 11:19 AM
Hi. My husband had my car with out my concern , and he was driving under the influence ofDrugs. If any penalt change? He is insurance in it. Thanks
Angel - 6-Dec-16 @ 9:50 PM
My misses hasn't passed her test but borrowed her c2 to her mum her mum insured it but has written it of by driving under the influence of alcohol and has been arrested but won't give my misses anything for the car anyone know how my misses could get some money back of her mum for her car
Brooky - 3-Dec-16 @ 8:00 PM
Hiya My 14year old brother took my car for a joy ride with his mates for a couple of hours while i was at work. He hasn't done much to the car other than a few scratches. But I'm worried if he's hit any lights or cameras or anything and should i report to the police. If i do report to the police then how much trouble is he in? I don't really want to make it any worse.
Shah - 27-Nov-16 @ 3:43 AM
I have given my car to a repair garage, I have a tracker fitted in my car. I was told it was waiting for a part (In my head I presume it should move from that location if they are waiting on a part). I have since see on my tracker the vehicle is being drivel around outside their working hours and also speeding. I have not given permission for them to do so! What can I do about this as I have the proof it's been used personally by them? Thanks Aron
Ar0n5 - 24-Nov-16 @ 7:22 PM
my sister who is 18 this week took my mums car at 3 am in the morning. she doesn't have a full licence or insurance. It gets worse she crashed the car into 3 other cars causing alot of damageand cars then went on to hit walls in the street causing brick work damage. what is the worst case scentrio. I missed of she fled the scene but later walked back handed her self in to the police at the sene. also had two frinds in the car who took part in joy riding she has never done anything like this before and has a clean recored up to this date anyway.
mike - 18-Nov-16 @ 8:26 PM
Someone I know stole their mums car and wrote it if he is 14 and was drunk driving? What will he get even if his mum don't press charges
Drivesafe - 7-Nov-16 @ 2:35 PM
Jay - Your Question:
Hi.I have insured my son on my policy.he was at a friend's house he fell asleep.some one took his car with out his knowledge.and took it for a ride.they got flagged down for speeding but failed to stop this resulted in a chase the police Dident catch them.but came to my address looking for my son.what happens.What should we do as my son still has no idea who took the car.

Our Response:
This will only be regarded as theft/taking without permission if your son reported/reports it to the police.
NoPenaltyPoints - 21-Sep-16 @ 2:14 PM
Hi ..I have insured my son on my policy ..he was at a friend's house he fell asleep .some one took his car with out his knowledge .and took it for a ride..they got flagged down for speeding but failed to stop this resulted in a chase the police Dident catch them .but came to my address looking for my son .what happens .What should we do as my son still has no idea who took the car .
Jay - 20-Sep-16 @ 8:11 AM
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