Felony or Not? Understanding the Severity of Unauthorized Vehicle Use

Borrowing a friend’s car without permission might seem like a harmless act, but it can have serious legal consequences in Ohio. This blog aims to provide a general understanding of unauthorized vehicle use (UUV) in Ohio, emphasizing that it’s crucial to seek qualified legal counsel if you face such charges.

Is UUV a Felony in Ohio?

Section 2913.03 of the O.R.C. states, “No person shall knowingly use or operate an aircraft, motor vehicle, motorcycle, motorboat, or other motor-propelled vehicle without the consent of the owner or person authorized to give consent.” The key phrase is “without consent,” and the statute also makes it a crime to take a vehicle out of state for longer than 48 hours unless the owner has given permission. Consent can be given after the fact.

Generally, UUV in Ohio is classified as a misdemeanor, specifically a first-degree misdemeanor. This means it carries potential penalties of:

  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • A fine of up to $1,000

However, UUV can be elevated to a felony (fifth degree) under specific circumstances:

  • If the value of the vehicle exceeds $1,000 and the perpetrator removes it from the state or keeps it for over 48 hours without permission.
  • If the owner of the vehicle is elderly, disabled, or suffers a financial loss exceeding $1,000 due to the UUV.

Understanding the nuances of the law and the potential consequences is crucial. While this blog provides information, it’s not a substitute for legal advice. If you are facing charges of UUV, it’s strongly recommended to consult with a qualified attorney who can:

  • Evaluate the specifics of your case
  • Advise you of your legal rights and options
  • Develop a comprehensive defense strategy
  • Represent you throughout the legal process

Minnillo Law Group, a trusted legal firm in Ohio, stands ready to assist you with UUV charges or any other criminal matter. Our experienced attorneys are dedicated to protecting your rights and securing the best possible outcome for your case.

Disclaimer: This blog is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The specific laws and their interpretations can vary depending on the circumstances. Please consult with an attorney for personalized legal guidance.