Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle occurs when a person operates a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent. It is also referred to as “joyriding,” and often occurs when a teen takes a vehicle without their parent’s permission. This statute is different from the general theft statute because, with this type of offense, the offender intends to return the vehicle to its rightful owner.
As a result, the level of offense is not driven by the value of the vehicle that was taken. If you’ve been charged with UUMV, consider reaching out to a Fort Worth joyriding lawyer for help.
UUMV is short for “Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle.” While most people think of UUMV as taking a car, a person can be charged with UUMV for taking a boat, airplane, or any motor-propelled vehicle without permission.
For example, a teenager who sneaks out at night and takes his mother’s car could be convicted of joyriding – even if the vehicle is returned a short time later. The main difference between joyriding, aka unauthorized use of a vehicle, and stealing a car is the type of deprivation that the offender intends to commit. In other words, whether he or she intends to permanently or temporarily deprive the owner of the vehicle. If you are investigated for either offense, you will need a criminal defense attorney who understands the distinction and can fight for the best outcome in your case.
A UUMV charge is a state jail felony in Texas, which is punishable by 180 days to 2 years in state jail facility and up to a $10,000 fine. It is also considered a “crime of moral turpitude,” which means a conviction can impact the defendant’s ability to get a job, a house or into school.
Since consent is a common defense to the charge of unauthorized use of a vehicle, the main issue for prosecutors becomes whether the owner consented to the defendant’s use of the car on that particular occasion. The fact that the owner permitted the defendant to drive the car on a previous occasion is not enough to establish consent.
If you have been arrested or charged with joyriding, call our team of Fort Worth Unauthorized Use of Motor Vehicle lawyers for help today. Call us at (817) 203-2220 or reach out online.
For more information regarding the offense, please reference the Texas Penal Code 31.07.