The Law, Penalties and Defences for Joyriding in NSW

By Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.


We all like to start our mornings off with a bit of productivity.

Indeed, it feels great to have ticked off a few things on the “To Do” list well before the rest of the world wakes up.

But no amount of early morning workouts completed or emails replied to could probably ever leave you feeling as accomplished as Oklahoma man, Garrett Michael Anderson, who last week managed to allegedly steal a forklift from a hotel construction site and take it for an epic joyride down the streets of Enid while intoxicated, all before 8am.


911 Called After Witnessing Forklift Burst Through Gates of Construction Site

It is reported that at around 7:40am on 14 January 2020, Enid resident, Court Pierce, immediately called 911 after beholding the bizarre site of a forklift breaking through the gates of a construction site.

The man behind the wheel was 23-year-old Garrett Michael Anderson, who was intoxicated on drugs at the time.

Mr Pierce watched as the stolen vehicle, estimated to be 15-tonnes, leapt on curbs and damaged fences, leading to a slow-speed police chase.

Through the chaos, he followed the forklift and waved others off the streets, all while police operated to find the suspect.

After about 15 minutes, the forklift finally gave out.

“He just ran a red light and through a beer can on the road,” Pierce told 911 dispatchers.

“He had a lot of bricks in a basket or in a box in the front and bricks started flying out all over the roadway,” Pierce said.

“That was when I knew there was a problem.”


Suspect Waves at Officers During Joyride; Stops to Ask Woman for Cigarette

If the situation wasn’t whacky enough, Enid police said that during the joyride, the suspect waved at officers.

According to the witness, he also stopped a woman who was taking a break and asked her for a cigarette.

Ultimately, the vehicle came to a stop after losing a hose, which stopped the movement of diesel to the engine.

Enid police believe Anderson also broke into the hotel construction site, smashing the windows and tiles, at which point he stole the forklift.

The suspect was arrested on complaints of grand larceny, public intoxication (drugs), malicious injury to property and an outstanding warrant.

Luckily, no one was hurt in the incident.


Understanding the Appeal of Joyriding

Amongst teenagers and young adults, joyriding is considered a thrilling form of risk-taking, often committed with the hope to drive at high speeds and experience possible danger. It is considered somewhat as a rite of passage.

The youngsters, typically male, crave the adrenalin that comes with car theft and then courageously face the roads while trying to dodge obstacles and even just survive.

According to a study revealing perceptions of joyriding in Crime Prevention and Community Safety: An International Journal, joyriding behaviour has been understood to divulge a complex pattern of motivational factors.

Joyriding promises control, mobility and freedom to race the streets thanks to a stolen car.

For young males in particular, it provides a way of developing masculine identity, which adds to the experience being pleasurable.

Nevertheless, joyriding is illegal.

The Law, Penalties and Defences for Joyriding in NSW

In NSW, joyriding is an offence and is referred to as “taking a conveyance without the consent of the owner”. It is similar to stealing motor vehicle offences in NSW.

Put simply, in NSW, it is a crime to take and drive a conveyance if you don’t have the consent of the owner or the consent of the person who was in lawful possession of it at the time. This is reflected in section 154A(1) Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

Taking a conveyance without consent of the owner carries the same maximum penalty as larceny in NSW of 5-years in jail, prescribed by section 117 Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

The same penalties apply for:

  1. Taking a conveyance without consent in order to drive it, secret it, or obtain a reward for restoring or pretending to restore it; or
  2. Driving or allowing yourself to be carried in a conveyance if you knew that it’s been taken without consent.

While the maximum penalty for these crimes is 5-years jail, this only applies if the charge is dealt with in the District Court. Normally such charges are dealt with in the lower court known as the Local Court, which is limited in the maximum penalty it can impose for this offence, being up to 2-years jail and/or $5,500 fine.

Examples of a ‘conveyance’ under the law include any motor car, cab, cart, caravan, wagon, carriage, trailer, bus, motor lorry, tractor, earth moving equipment, bicycle, used or intended for navigation (outlined in section 154A(2) Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)).

Want to know more? Call our criminal lawyers in Sydney for a free discussion today.

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