“Unauthorized use of a motor vehicle” Unauthorized use of a car is a severe criminal offense, but it’s not the same as auto theft. Discover the distinction here.
The phrase “unauthorized use of a motor vehicle” is exactly what it means, but let’s go more explicit. This offense basically relates to operating a motor vehicle without the owner’s permission.
In some states, using a vehicle for longer than the allotted period or for a different reason than what the owner has approved can also be considered unlawful use of a vehicle. A “motor vehicle” is often any motor-driven vehicle, including cars, motorbikes, bicycles, and motorboats, depending on the state.
Every state has laws prohibiting the unauthorized use of vehicles, but the definitions and severity of the penalties vary from state to state.
What distinguishes Car Theft from Unlawful Use of a Vehicle?
Even though taking a car without permission may sound exactly like auto theft, there are several key differences.
Auto theft denotes the taking of a vehicle with the purpose of robbing the owner of possession and ownership by keeping the vehicle. This intention does not constitute unauthorized use.
In other words, “joyriding,” or illicit use, suggests that the borrower plans to return the owner’s car after they are finished with it.
NOTE: Unauthorized usage is just “borrowing” the vehicle without permission, whereas vehicle larceny entails someone taking an automobile with the purpose of keeping it.
Consequences of Using a Car without the Owner’s Permission
Every state’s penal code specifies distinct penalties for the offense, just as each jurisdiction has a unique definition of what constitutes unlawful usage. Some states have a general penalty for unlawful usage.
For instance, the Texas Penal Code classifies illegal use as a felony with a maximum sentence of two years and a maximum fine of $11,000.
Other states align their penalties with the seriousness of the offense. For instance, Ohio criminal law specifies the particulars of each level of punishment. A normal offense will result in a first-degree misdemeanor, whereas illegal usage that results in damage of between $7,000 and $37,000 will result in a third-degree felony.
Suppose you’re facing accusations of unlawful use of a vehicle, regardless of state. In that case, it’s always a good idea to contact a local criminal defense attorney for a free consultation to discuss your alternatives. Working with a criminal defense attorney may result in less severe penalties.
Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle: How do I handle a stolen car?
It can be overwhelming to learn that your automobile has been stolen, but it’s crucial to move quickly.
The likelihood that your vehicle will be found and the efficiency of the claims procedure will both be enhanced if you immediately report it missing to the police.
The following actions should be taken if you believe your car has been stolen:
Verify that your vehicle is stolen.
Take a deep breath and confirm that you are in the correct location before you begin to panic. Walk around the parking lot or street (you might not have parked where you thought you had).
If you’re still having trouble finding your car, you should see if it has been impounded.
File a Police Report
The quicker you report auto theft to the police, the faster they’ll start hunting for your car.
When submitting a report, be sure to have the following details available:
- Your license plate number and vehicle identifying number (VIN)
- Insurance card or other proof of insurance
- Your car’s year, make, and model
- The theft’s location and anticipated time of day
- The possessions in the vehicle at the time of the theft
- Any distinguishing features on the vehicle, such as bumper stickers or dents
- Having an inbuilt vehicle location device
Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle: Make an insurance claim
Your insurance provider will be better able to handle your claim and decide on a suitable reimbursement if you provide more information.
Have the following data on hand when making a claim:
- The account number for your policy
- Your vehicle’s title
- The whereabouts of all of your car’s keys both before and after the theft
- Names and contact information for any person who had access to your car.
- A brief description of your car. Mileage, service history, and upgrades are all included.
- If relevant, your car lender’s contact information
A credit check is an essential but frequently ignored phase in the insurance claim process.
If your credit check reveals a large debt and you suddenly claim your vehicle is stolen, it may appear suspicious. If your insurance company suspects you of attempting to commit fraud, they may deny your claim.
Is it Worthwhile to Purchase Comprehensive Insurance?
Assessing the potential hazards to your vehicle will assist you in selecting the plans that are best for you. If you reside in a high-crime region, you should absolutely get comprehensive auto insurance coverage.
Is Unlicensed Use a Misdemeanor?
It is dependent on the situation. It’s a Class A misdemeanor in Arkansas, while it’s a Class C felony in Oregon.