What is Use of A Motor Vehicle Without Authority?
In Massachusetts use of a motor vehicle without authority is a crime. This is a lesser included offense of larceny of a motor vehicle, the difference being that you did not intend to permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle. Although it is considered a lesser offense, it is still taken very seriously in the criminal justice system. In order to prove the charges against you, the Commonwealth must show that:
1. You used the motor vehicle;
2. That you did so without the permission of the vehicle’s owner; and
3. That you knew you were not authorized to use the vehicle. In proving the first element, it is important to note that the term “use” is not limited to actually driving the vehicle, and can include riding in it as a passenger.
In order to establish that you used the vehicle without the owner’s permission, typically the owner will have the testimony that he or she did not authorize you to use it. Finally, proving the element of knowledge that you did not have the authority to use is usually the most critical in your defense. Often times these charges result from a misunderstanding, especially if you were the passenger in the vehicle.
What is the Penalty For Use of A Motor Vehicle Without Authority?
If you are convicted of the use of a motor vehicle without authority on a first offense, you are facing a minimum mandatory sentence of 30 days in jail and/or fines of up to $500. Second and subsequent convictions are considered a felony and carry a minimum mandatory sentence of 30 days and up to 5 years imprisonment. These are very serious consequences so it is extremely urgent that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away to ensure the best possible results.
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