Carl David Ceder - Attorney and Counselor at Law

Unauthorized use of a motor vehicle in Texas

Every country has some rules. A man cannot live in a place where there are no laws as it will create a chaos. This was the biggest reason due to which laws were created so that people learn the ways to behave in a normal way. That was the only way through which stability in a society can be achieved. Apart from other laws around us, no one is allowed to use a motor vehicle which does not belong to them. They should have the permission by the owner otherwise it is prohibited.

Like all other areas of the world, Texas has also some specified laws related to the unauthorized use of a vehicle. The section for the unauthorized use of a vehicle or auto theft comes under the Penal code section 31.07. It is considered as a state jail felony in Texas and the punishment is provided as per the explanation in the law. As the state jail felony is considered as a serious one, its punishment is 6 months to maximum 2 years in jail. Apart from that, find can also be induced to the person. However, the amount of the fine will vary and it should not exceed $10,000 as per the laws.

There are times when the auto theft charge is considered under the general theft statute. This is done only when the value of the vehicle that is being stolen is more than $30,000. Due to this, the offense is made much bigger and serious. As a result, it is then considered as the third-degree felony. The punishment for a third-degree felony is 10 years in jail with 2 years minimum time.

When it comes to proving this charge, the process is considered to be quite easy as compared to other offenses. A person is considered to be guilty if he has done the act with the intention to do it. Also, the vehicle can be of any type like an airplane, boat or a car. All this should be done against the will of the owner to prove the offense in the court. For this purpose, there is no such requirement of a specified intention which is why the offense can be proved as a joy ride in the court. This is one of the most effective ways used by the lawyers in the court. They convert the auto theft into a case of unauthorized use of a vehicle which is not that much serious.

When it comes to auto theft, there are two different defenses you can present in the court. These are explained below:

  • Consent: It is a situation in which a person can say that they thought the owner had given them the consent.
  • Lack of intent: It is the second defense which means that you did not have the intent to steal a car.

If you are facing any of these issues, do contact us so we can help you in every possible way.