TWOC, Theft of motor vehicle, Unlawfully Taking a Motor Vehicle, UTMV, Aggravated TWOC, Vehicle Interference, Allowing yourself to be carried, Joyriding
Stealing a motor vehicle, also known as joyriding and taking without consent (TWOC) is the offence committed if you drive any motor vehicle without the owner’s permission. If you are a passenger in a stolen vehicle, and you know that the driver does not have permission to take the vehicle, you would be charged with “allowing yourself to be carried” in a vehicle without consent.
The offence covers situations where you take a friend or family member’s car without their permission, as well as when you are accused of simply stealing a vehicle. However, you are not guilty of the offence if you believe that you have lawful authority to take the vehicle, or you genuinely believe that the owner would have given you permission to drive the car in the circumstances of the offence.
Taking a vehicle without consent is a summary only offence, so your case can normally only be heard in the Magistrates Court. Most clients who are convicted by the Court for this offence receive Community Orders instead of prison sentences. However, you should be aware that the Court also has a power to disqualify you from driving. If you are accused of taking a vehicle without consent, it is important to have a solicitor to advise you on the evidence in the case and represent you at Court.
An alternative offence to TWOC is vehicle interference. This offence means you are accused of interfering with any part of a vehicle or trailer and you intend to steal the motor vehicle, or to steal items carried in the vehicle.
Like TWOC, vehicle interference is a summary only offence, which means it can only be heard in the Magistrates Court.
Aggravated Vehicle Taking
If you are accused of taking a vehicle without consent and the vehicle is either:
- Driven dangerously,
- Involved in an accident where someone was injured,
- Involved in an accident where any property is damaged, or
- The stolen vehicle is damaged,
then you will be charged with the offence of aggravated vehicle taking. This is a more serious offence than TWOC, and carries a higher risk of a prison sentence. Aggravated vehicle taking is an either way offence, so can be heard in either the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court. As there is a greater chance of a prison sentence if you are convicted, it is important to instruct the best solicitor to advise you and represent you in Court.
Often the police only recover a stolen vehicle after it has been abandoned, and arrest suspects based on forensic evidence like DNA. Items of clothing recovered from a stolen vehicle, or DNA samples from saliva or blood could connect you with the vehicle being stolen. In cases like this, you need a solicitor who can assess what the forensic evidence actually means, and present your case of innocent reasons why this evidence has been found.
The solicitors at Stephen Lickrish & Associates have dealt many clients accused of taking without consent, vehicle interference, and aggravated vehicle taking. We can represent clients in Greater Manchester and the North West, as well as throughout the country. If you, or someone you know, are accused of this offence, contact us to see how we can help you.