Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle (O.R.C. 2913.13) in Cleveland is charged when a vehicle – including watercraft, aircraft, automobiles, motorcycles, and other “motor-propelled vehicles” – is knowingly used without the consent of the owner or person authorized to issue consent.
When these are the facts of your case, you will be charged with a first degree misdemeanor (six month sentence).
If the vehicle is then taken outside of Ohio, or kept for longer than 48 hours, the penalty for unauthorized use of a vehicle will become a fifth degree felony (six to twelve months in jail).
There are other circumstances that can elevate the unauthorized use of a vehicle charges, such as when the victim is an elderly person or disabled adult, or when there are financial losses to the owner of the vehicle.
There are also affirmative defenses, such as a good-faith belief (even if mistaken) that the defendant had permission to use the vehicle, or when the defendant reasonably believes that the owner would give permission to use the vehicle in a particular circumstance.
In general, there’s a big difference between joy riding in a car that you don’t own, and mistakenly thinking your friend gave you permission, or borrowing a car in an emergency situation.
Prosecutors may choose not to see the distinction, but when you work with experienced unauthorized use of a vehicle defense attorneys, we can make sure the jury does.
Call Patituce & Associates today at (440) 709-8088 to talk to an experienced unauthorized use of a vehicle defense attorney for free.