Joyriding Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Joyriding, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Joyriding?

Borrowing a car illegally without the owner’s permission although intending to return the car.

History and Meaning of Joyriding

Joyriding is an illegal act that involves taking someone's car, motorcycle, or any other vehicle without their permission and driving it around for fun or pleasure. The term was first used in the 1900s when automobiles became more common and accessible to the general public. During this time, car thefts and joyriding were a growing problem, which led to the introduction of laws that criminalized these activities.

Joyriding can have serious consequences for both the person who takes the vehicle and the owner. It can result in fines, jail time, impounding of the vehicle, and damage to the car or motorcycle being driven. Joyriding has become increasingly common in recent years due to the rise of car-sharing and ride-sharing services, which make it easier for people to gain access to vehicles without the owner's knowledge or consent.

Examples of Joyriding

  1. A group of teenagers break into a car parked on the street and take it for a joyride around the neighborhood before abandoning it.
  2. A man borrows his friend's motorcycle without asking and takes it out for a spin while his friend is out of town.
  3. A woman steals a car from a dealership and goes on a joyride before being caught by the police.
  4. A person rents a car from a rental company and takes it on a joyride without paying.
  5. A group of young adults break into a construction site and steal a bulldozer for a joyride.

Legal Terms Similar to Joyriding

  1. Auto theft: The illegal act of taking someone's car without their permission, with no intention of returning it.
  2. Grand theft auto: A serious felony offense that involves stealing a vehicle valued above a certain dollar amount, depending on the state.
  3. Unlawful use of a vehicle: A criminal offense that involves using a vehicle without the owner's permission, which may include joyriding or borrowing the car without consent.