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South Carolina Joyriding Laws

South Carolina Joyriding Laws

In South Carolina, a person commits the property crime of joyriding by taking, operating, or using a vehicle without the owner’s consent and with the intent to deprive the owner of his/her property. The offense must be committed for a lengthy period, as part of the commission of another crime or with the intention to do so, or for a temporary purpose that does not involve committing another offense or an intent to do so. 

Joyriding for a lengthy period or when committing another offense is a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum prison term of three years. For example, if you notice that a car still has a key in the ignition, and you decide to drive it around town for an hour or driving the car in a reckless manner and committing a series of traffic violations, this is considered joyriding. 

On the other hand, joyriding for a temporary purpose that does not involve committing another crime, then a conviction is punishable by a jail sentence of up to one year and a maximum fine of $500. For example, if you borrow someone’s car but fail to return it within the agreed-upon time or within a reasonable amount of time, this is considered joyriding even if you did not intend to steal the vehicle. 

Additionally, if you end up joyriding a stolen car, you could also be charged with possession of a stolen vehicle. According to state law, you need to have control over the vehicle and had knowledge that the car was stolen. 

If the vehicle is worth more than $10,000, then the offense is a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years. If the vehicle is worth more than $2,000 but less than $10,000, the offense is also a felony but carries a maximum prison term of five years. If a vehicle is worth less than $2,000, then the offense carries a prison sentence of 30 days. 

If you have been charged with a property crime in Columbia or Lexington, contact the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC today at (803) 359-3301 for a free case review. Serving clients throughout South Carolina since 2004! 


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