View Full Version : Question about what happens to a car thief?

05-16-2010, 03:00 PM
To give some background before I ask my questions: I have a secondary character named Derrick in my YA novel "Big Mouth Blues" who is 16, and toward the end of the story he steals a 17 year old's car. (Wade did something that pissed Derrick off big-time, and Derrick steals his car to get back at him for it.) The car is a fully restored 1971 2-door Cutlas, and Derrick hotwires it and takes it on a joy ride. (He had gotten high on something prior to stealing it, and he was smoking a joint while driving it.) Derrick has a history of stealing cars before, and spent time in Juvie Hall for it.

It's a long story, but my 14 yr. old MC was in the car with him (not of her free-will) after he stole it, and when she manages to get out of the car, he speeds away.

Right now I don't have any resolution to what happened to Derrick, or what happened to Wade's car, after Derrick leaves.

I want Wade to get his car back by the end of the book. My question is, does anyone know what could happen where the police would catch Derrick? (Maybe they pull him over for speeding or something?)

And does anyone know how long it would take for Wade to be able to get his car back? Would he get it back right away, or would it take a while? (Wade's Dad is a lawyer, if that helps any?) I only have a three week span between when Derrick stole it until I need for Wade to have his car back. Is it possible for him to get it back within that time frame? (I don't have a clue about any of this stuff, or about how all that works with the legal system and/or red tape, etc....)

I don't have a lot of time to devote to this little resolution. I'm thinking a few sentences to cover it, since mentioning what happened to Derrick and how Wade got his car back happens in the final wrap-up chapter of the novel. So I'm not looking for this huge in-depth resolution to this. I just need to be able to say (or rather summarize) in a paragraph more or less what happened to Derrick after the police arrested him (what consequences he faces), and how Wade was able to get his car back.

Hopefully this all makes some kind of sense. lol! It was a little hard to explain.

Anyway, ANY help, suggestions, advice, guidance, etc., from anyone will be very greatly appreciated!!!!


~ Dana-Lynn

05-16-2010, 03:38 PM
This is going to vary in different jurisdictions. Where is your story set?

05-16-2010, 05:50 PM
You have a good scenario for catching Derrick with the stolen car. There's no reason for the police to hold the car once they get a statement from the owner saying he owns the car, and he did not give Derrick permission to hot wire it and drive it. The police would probably want to photograph the evidence of him hot wiring the ignition, but Wade should get his car back in a few hours.
Derrick, being a multiple offender, may not be eligible for youthful offender status and may be charged as an adult at age 16. In New York Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle (joy riding) is a class A misdemeanor.

05-19-2010, 03:12 AM
THANK YOU, RJK! That was what I needed to know, and it helped me tremendously!


05-19-2010, 06:36 AM
Possible wrinkle--has Wade ever given Derrick permission to drive the car, at some previous point in the story? When I was 16, I let a 19-year-old girl stay at my apartment while she was going through some tough things. I let her drive my car once to the grocery store on the corner. A few weeks later she stole my car.

I learned from a roommate that she was headed to a nearby military base to visit friends, so I called the cops, they called the base, and the girl was met by military police when she got there. They made her bring the car back, but I was told that because I had once let her drive it, and she claimed that she thought I had given her "blanket permission" to drive it, it wasn't legally theft. This was 1992 in Orlando.

05-19-2010, 08:25 AM
Thanks for the info, Blackrose. That is really interesting, I didn't know about that.

No, Wade had never let him drive the car before. In fact, my MC actually states when she is in the car with Derrick that "Wade never lets anyone else drive his car." So I guess I covered that wrinkle without even realizing it! LOL! That's so cool, and good to know. :)

Thanks again!