Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle

Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle | UUMV Charges in Texas

What is Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle (UUMV) in Texas?

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.

What is a UUMV in Texas?

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.

What is the Punishment for UUMV?

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.

What is an Example of Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle?

Taking a car for a joy ride can turn into a serious felony charge.

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.

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Penal Code 31.07 – Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle

(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly operates another’s boat, airplane, or motor-propelled vehicle without the effective consent of the owner.

(b) An offense under this section is a state jail felony.

Defending Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle

Auto thefts (UUMV) are often investigated by task forces in North TexasSince 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 Unauthorized Use of Motor Vehicle, call our team of criminal defense lawyers at 817-203-2220. We are different. Find out how.

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Benson Varghese

Managing Partner at Varghese Summersett PLLC
Benson Varghese is the founder and Managing Partner of Varghese Summersett PLLC. He is a prolific writer and has authored hundreds of articles about criminal law in Texas and at the Federal level. His articles have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Above the Law, and have been selected as Top Blogs by the State Bar of Texas. He was named the Young Lawyer of the Year in 2019 by the Tarrant County Bar Association. Benson led the firm to become one of the 500 fastest growing businesses in the United States by Inc 500 Magazine in 2018. In the same year, the firm was named the Best Law Firm in Fort Worth by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The lawyers at Varghese Summersett PLLC exclusively handle criminal defense matters.
Benson Varghese