Oklahoma City Criminal Defense Attorney  In Oklahoma, What Is The Difference Between Grand Theft Auto and Joyriding?

Outside of drug crimes, sex crimes and homicide, theft is one of the most serious crimes in the state of Oklahoma. Depending on the level of the offense and your criminal background, you may be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.  Grand theft auto in particular, can lead to serious punishments. Even for the lesser crime of joyriding, you will face jail time, monetary fines, and/or be sentenced to probation or to perform  community service. The purpose of this article is to explain the difference between grand theft auto and joyriding in Oklahoma.


The main difference between grand theft auto and joyriding is that with joyriding there was no intent to permanently deprive the owner of possession of the vehicle. Joyriding which is classified as a misdemeanor is covered in Title 21 O.S. 1435, which states:

“ … it shall be unlawful for any person or persons to loiter in or upon any automobile or motor vehicle, or to deface or injure such automobile or motor vehicle, or to “molest, drive, or attempt to drive any automobile, for joyriding or any other purpose, or” to manipulate or meddle with any machinery or appliances thereof without the consent of the owner of such automobile or motor vehicle.”

If convicted of joyriding in Oklahoma, your punishment will be a fine of no less than $100 and not more than $500, or up to  1 year in a county jail, or both.

Grand Theft Auto

Grand theft auto is a more serious offense. Grand theft auto, which is classified as a felony, is defined as the theft of anything worth more than $500. Since most vehicles are worth more than $500, it follows then that grand theft auto is classified as a felony in Oklahoma. Title 47 O.S. 4-102 provides:

“A person not entitled to possession of a vehicle or implement of husbandry who, without the consent of the owner and with intent to deprive the owner, temporarily or otherwise, of the vehicle or implement of husbandry or its possession, takes, uses or drives the vehicle or implement of husbandry shall be guilty of a felony.”

If you are convicted of grand theft auto, you will receive punishment ranging from 3 to 20 years in a state penitentiary and/or fines of up to $500,000 and be ordered to pay restitution to the victim. So, if you’ve been charged with stealing a car, its imperative that you seek legal consul immediately to avoid the most severe consequences.

Confidential Consultation: Oklahoma City Felony Attorney

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