It is a Saturday night, and you see a car with the keys in the ignition. You take the car without permission, maybe not intending to keep it, but certainly to take it out for a spin.
Unauthorized use of a motor vehicle is a crime in Oklahoma. Here is what you might want to know about the crime and how it is handled.
Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle Defined
This is a crime of theft. The statute defines the theft as the taking, using, or driving of a vehicle with intent to deprive the owner, without the consent of the owner and without entitlement to possession. It is a felony. Okla. Stat. tit. 47 § 4-102
Here are all the elements that must be proven by the prosecution:
- a vehicle;
- by the defendant;
- without the consent of the owner;
- with the intent to deprive the owner, temporarily or otherwise, of the vehicle or its possession.
If you drive the vehicle without consent and with the intent to deprive the owner of the vehicle or its possession, that is sufficient intent to be found guilty of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle if the other elements are met.
The statute and elements make it clear that an actual taking and moving of the vehicle is needed to be convicted. An intention to return the vehicle later is not part of this statute.
In Oklahoma, joyriding is defined as loitering in or upon a vehicle, to deface it, or to molest, drive, or attempt to drive it without consent. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1787
Joyriding is a misdemeanor. It is punishable by a fine between $100 and $50, up to a year in county jail, or both. Joyriding hinges on a lack of intent to keep the car and is thus not technically a theft charge. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1788
Questions of permission and intent are important in cases of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and joyriding. Thus, these issues should be explored with your criminal defense attorney.
If you are facing charges, make sure to hire an attorney today. Help is a phone call away.
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