Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle in TX
If you have been charged with the unauthorized use of a motor vehicle in Texas, your first move should be to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you to understand the details of the charges you are facing and the potential consequences. At the Law Office of Brent D. Bowen, Attorney at Law, we have years of experience working on a wide array of criminal cases, including cases involving the unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Please refer to the following for an overview of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle charges and call our law firm directly to learn more information that is specific to your case.
Defining Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle in Texas
As found in Texas Penal Code Section 31.07, a person commits the crime of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle when they intentionally or knowingly operate another’s motor vehicle, which might include a car, a boat, or even a plane, without the authorized consent of the vehicle’s owner.
Penalties for Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle
As found under the same section of Texas’ code cited above, the offense of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle is a state jail felony in Texas. A state jail felony can be punished by 180 days to two years of jail time, as well as a fine of up to $10,000. Of course, a state jail felony will also show up on one’s criminal record, potentially impairing their opportunities moving forward. For example, it may be difficult to secure employment or an apartment after being convicted of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
Defenses to Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle
If you have been charged with the unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, you should seek legal counsel immediately. Your attorney can help you to build your defense. Defenses to the unauthorized use of a motor vehicle might include:
- The vehicle was, in fact, your own vehicle or you were under the impression that the vehicle was your vehicle;
- You had the actual owner’s permission;
- You had the intention of returning the vehicle to the owner;
- You were using the vehicle for emergency purposes and planned to return it immediately; or
- You mistook the vehicle as belonging to another person from whom you did have consent.
In some cases, building a defense and pleading “not guilty” may not be practical. When this is the case, your attorney can help you to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution, which may result in the charges against you or the sentence being reduced.
Call the Denton TX Office of Brent D. Bowen, Attorney at Law, Today
At the law office of Brent D. Bowen, Attorney at Law, our Texas criminal defense attorney realizes how much is on the line when you have been charged with a crime like the unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. While you may be scared, it is important to remember that you do have legal rights. Our lawyer will work hard to protect those rights. Call our law firm directly today or send us a message for your consultation.