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Texas Crime: Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle

It’s not out of the ordinary to borrow someone else’s vehicle, especially when you don’t have your own car, or when yours is in the shop getting repaired. Usually, when people borrow someone else’s vehicle, they do so from a partner, a spouse, another family member, from a friend, or even a boss.

In fact, borrowing a vehicle from a close friend or family member may feel completely natural, especially if you do it on a regular basis.

The trick is, you have to have the owner’s “consent” in order to pull this off lawfully. The moment you take someone else’s vehicle, boat, or airplane without their “consent,” you are actually committing a serious crime.

While your father probably won’t put in a call to the authorities the moment that you borrow his 4X4 without his knowledge, if you “borrow” your ex’s vehicle and take it on a joyride for the weekend, or if you use your boss’s car to pick your friend up at the airport and your boss didn’t give you permission, you can find yourself in trouble with the law depending on your boss’s attitude about the situation.

Some bosses are easy going, some bosses are not. Same goes with exes, co-workers, neighbors, roommates, and extended family members.

State Jail Felony Charges

If you used someone else’s vehicle, boat or airplane without their consent, the chances of them filing charges are slim if you have a good relationship with him or her.

On the other hand, if you knowingly borrowed a stranger’s car, truck, SUV, boat, or airplane, or someone you don’t know well, they may have gotten quite upset about the whole ordeal and decided to file criminal charges against you under Sec. 31.07 of the Texas Penal Code.

Under Sec. 31.07, a person commits the offense of “unauthorized use of a vehicle” when he or she intentionally or knowingly uses another person’s vehicle, airplane, or boat without the owner’s permission.

An offense under Sec. 31.07 is a state jail felony, punishable by 180 days to 2 years behind bars, and a fine not to exceed $10,000.

If you’re facing charges under Sec. 31.07, you are facing up to 2 years in prison and thousands in fines for what could’ve been an innocent mistake. Protect yourself today and call our Plano criminal defense firm!