Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle Defense

What Is the Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle (UUMV) in Dallas?

Under Section 31.07 of the Texas Penal Code, a person commits unauthorized use of a motor vehicle if he or she:

  • intentionally or knowingly
  • operates another person’s motor-propelled vehicle, boat, or airplane
  • without the effective consent of the owner.

It’s a pretty straightforward statute, but there are a couple of things to point out. Notice that this statute doesn’t just apply to vehicles. It also applies to boats and planes, so if you were to take someone’s boat for a spin around the lake without permission, you could be charged with UUMV.

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Secondly, it’s important to point out that the statute doesn’t specify if the owner ever gave consent – only that the defendant operated a vehicle “without the effective consent of the owner.” Let’s say your friend let you borrow their car to run to the convenience store, but you kept it overnight – and they have been calling you and demanding that you return it. At that point, law enforcement would contend that you were operating the vehicle without the owner’s consent and, therefore, meet the elements of the UUMV statute.

Dallas Unathauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle Lawyer, Serving Dallas and the Surrounding Areas

In Dallas, it’s not uncommon to hear about kids taking their parent’s car without permission – or “joyriding.”  It is also not uncommon for someone to borrow a friend or relative’s vehicle and then fail to return it when expected. Under Texas law, both scenarios could be considered Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle, or UUMV.

In this article, our attorneys will explain the offense of Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle in Dallas, the potential penalties for a UUMV conviction, and some possible defenses to the charge.

If you have been arrested for UUMV, it’s essential to contact a skilled Dallas Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle lawyer as soon as possible. This charge is a felony that can negatively impact your future and leave you with a criminal record. A lapse in judgment should not derail the rest of your life, which is why we fight to deliver the most favorable outcome possible for our clients.

What’s the Punishment for Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle in Dallas?

The crime of UUMV Dallas is a state jail felony, punishable by 6 months to 2 years in a state jail facility and a maximum $10,000 fine.

State Jail Felony
State Jail Felony Punishment in Texas

What are the Collateral Consequences of a UUMV Conviction?

In addition to possible jail time and fines, a conviction for UUMV can lead to several collateral consequences. Any felony conviction can result in losing voting rights and the right to possess a firearm. A UUMV conviction will also appear on background checks, making it challenging to obtain a job, school loans, or housing.

The best way to avoid collateral consequences is to avoid a conviction altogether, which is why it is essential to retain a seasoned Dallas Unauthorized Use of  Motor Vehicle lawyer. The team at Varghese Summersett is experienced in handling UUMV cases and will work tirelessly to get an outcome that will not negatively impact your future and long-term plans.

The stakes are high. Hire the best lawyers.

What’s the Difference between UUMV and Auto Theft?

Although UUMV is listed under the theft section in the Texas Penal Code, it differs from the general theft statute because the offender intends to return the vehicle.  In Texas, to be convicted of auto theft, the prosecutor must prove that you intentionally or knowingly took another person’s vehicle without their consent and intended to deprive them of it permanently.

Another difference between UUMV and auto theft is the punishment range. UUMV is a state jail felony with a maximum punishment of two years in a state jail facility. The punishment for auto theft depends on the value of the car. The more valuable the vehicle, the higher the range of punishment. For example, if the value of the stolen car is more than $30,000, the punishment is a third-degree felony punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.

We understand that Texas law can be challenging to understand. That is why it is essential to have an experienced Dallas Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle lawyer on your side during every phase of what is probably a very nerve-wracking process.

What are Possible Defenses for Joyriding?

The most common defense for UUMV or joyriding is consent. If the defendant can show that the vehicle owner consented to the use – or gave permission – there is no unauthorized use. For example, we have seen cases where a parent called the police after their child took their vehicle, only to learn that the other parent gave the child permission.

Consent is just one possible defense. An experienced Dallas Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle lawyer will review your case’s complete facts and circumstances and build a solid defense strategy. We realize that this offense often stems from misunderstandings or momentary lapses in judgment by young people who aren’t thinking about long-term consequences.

Arrested for UUMV? Speak with a Dallas Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle Lawyer Today.

If you have been arrested for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle in Dallas, contact our office today for a free consultation with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys. We have successfully defended clients charged with UUMV and will aggressively defend you, too. Call us today at 214-903-4300 so we can get started on your case. 214-903-4000

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