The law:Theft Act 1968, s.12A
This is a more serious form of the offence of Unlawful Taking of a Motor Vehicle. It is committed if a person commits the basic offence and one or more of these circumstances hold:
(1) Owing to the driving of the vehicle, an accident occurred by which damage was caused to any property.
(2) Damage was caused to the vehicle.
The offence is triable either in the Magistrates Court or Crown court (triable only in the Magistrates if damage under £5,000. The maximum sentence when tried in the Magistrates Court is a Level 5 fine and/or 6 months imprisonment. The maximum when tried in the Crown Court is 2 years imprisonment normally, but where an accident results in the death of another the maximum it is 14 years.The court must endorse and disqualify for at least 12 months and must disqualify for at least 2 years if offender has had two or more disqualifications for periods of 56 days or more in preceding 3 years
There are two forms of this offence, the basic form and the aggravated form. Someone who has ‘borrowed’ a friend or relative’s car without their knowledge could be guilty of the basic offence. Someone who takes a stranger’s car for a joyride and abandons it could be guilty of the aggravated offence. This page is about the aggravated form. The basic offence is Unlawful Taking of a Motor Vehicle.
There are a number of possible avenues open to defending an allegation of taking without consent. Legal aid may be available to represent you.
It is highly recommended that you seek advice from specialist motoring or criminal defence lawyers who will either be able to help you avoid a conviction or limit the damage by securing a reduced sentence. Rose & Dunn solicitors can represent you for a fixed fee or possibly on legal aid. Contact us for further advice and assistance including a free initial appraisal of your case with no obligation.