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Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle

“Borrowing” someone’s car without asking, or “joyriding,” is considered a crime in New York State. In order for one to lawfully operate another person’s motor vehicle, one must obtain consent, or permission, from the vehicle’s owner. If  not, then he may be charged with “Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle.”

There are three distinct ways one may commit unauthorized use of a vehicle in New York State.

  1. If a driver knows that he does not have consent of the owner of a vehicle to take, operate or exercise control over, to ride in,  or otherwise use the vehicle, and he does so, then he may be charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle. (NY Penal Law Section 165.05(1))
  2. If someone who repairs or services a vehicle has an agreement to only repair and/or service the vehicle, yet he operates the vehicle for his personal use, he may be charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle. (NY Penal Law Section 165.05(2))
  3. If someone has agreed to use another person’s vehicle and return it at a specific time, and that person keeps the vehicle beyond that agreed-upon time limit, then he may be charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle (NY Penal Law Section 165.05(3))

Any of the above three types of crimes are considered Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in the third degree and are a class A misdemeanor. This type of misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine of $1,000 or both.

If a person is convicted of this crime for a second time within ten years of the original conviction, then the second crime is considered unauthorized use of a vehicle in the second degree, a class E felony. (NY Penal Law Section 165.06)

If someone uses a vehicle without the consent of its owner with the intent to commit a class A, B, C or D felony or uses the vehicle to flee from committing such crime or crimes, then that person may be charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle in the first degree, a class D felony. A conviction may result in imprisonment, a fine or both. (NY Penal Law Section 165.08)

As a conviction may result in punishment and a criminal record, it is important to work with an experienced New York criminal defense lawyer if you have been charged with this crime or are facing a criminal investigation.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship and receipt or viewing does not constitute such relationship.