New York Penal Law § 165.05 – Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in the Third Degree
Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in the Third Degree is a law prohibiting joyriding and other situations where someone uses another’s vehicle without their permission or for a purpose that exceeds the scope of the permission they were given. Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in the 3rd Degree is a Class A misdemeanor.The Elements of Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in the Third Degree
Before a judge or jury can convict anyone of a crime, including Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in the Third Degree, the government must prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
There are three subsections of Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in the Third Degree.
- The defendant exercised control over another’s vehicle, including by driving or riding in as a passenger, without the owner’s permission; and
- The defendant knew that they did not have the owner’s consent.
Exceeding the Permitted Scope of Use:
- The defendant was given another’s vehicle for a specific purpose, such as conducting a repair; and
- The defendant intentionally used the vehicle without the owner’s consent for a reason that was unrelated to the purpose the owner gave the vehicle to the defendant.
Keeping a Rental Car or Borrowed Vehicle:
- The defendant was given a vehicle after entering into an agreement with the vehicle’s owner, requiring the defendant to return the vehicle at a specific time; and
- The defendant intentionally kept the vehicle without the owner’s consent.
Examples of Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in the Third Degree include the following:
- A defendant rented a car from a nationwide car rental agency but failed to return the car after the rental period expired and did not provide notice of his intent to extend the rental.
- A mechanic agreed to replace the brakes on a customer’s Maserati and used the vehicle to take his wife out to dinner after he replaced the brakes but before the customer picked it up.
- A 19-year-old takes the keys to his friend’s father’s pickup truck to cruise around with his friends.
Notably, in each of these examples, it is implied that the defendant did not have the intent to keep the vehicle. If the prosecution believes a defendant intended to permanently deprive the owner of their vehicle, more serious car theft charges may be filed.Related Offenses to NY Penal Law § 165.05
Often, prosecutors bring Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in the Third Degree charges along with one or more of the following:
- Grand Larceny in the Third Degree – NY Penal Law § 155.35
- Grand Larceny in the Second Degree – NY Penal Law § 155.40
- Misapplication of Property – NY Penal Law § 165.00
- Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in the Third Degree – NY Penal Law § 165.06
- Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in the First Degree – NY Penal Law § 165.08
- Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree – NY Penal Law § 165.40
- Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree – NY Penal Law § 165.45
- Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Third Degree – NY Penal Law § 165.50
- Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Second Degree – NY Penal Law § 165.55
There are several defenses to Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in the Third Degree that can either reduce your sentencing exposure or result in the prosecution withdrawing the case against you or the jury returning a “not guilty” verdict. The most common defenses include the following:
- You were not the one who took the vehicle and were unaware that you didn’t have permission to use it.
- You had or truly thought you had the vehicle owner’s permission.
- The owner of the vehicle was not credible in denying they previously gave you permission.
- You informed the owner of the vehicle that you intended to return the vehicle but could not do so based on reasons beyond your control.
Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in the Third Degree is a Class A misdemeanor. In New York, Class A misdemeanors carry a maximum sentence of up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.Speak with an Experienced New York Unauthorized Use of an Automobile Lawyer About Your Case Today
If you were recently arrested and charged with the crime of Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in the Third Degree, it is essential that you understand the defenses that may be available to you. While a conviction will not result in a felony being added to your record, it is a serious misdemeanor, which can have lasting repercussions on your future. At Tilem & Associates, P.C., our dedicated New York auto theft lawyers have decades of experience protecting the rights of clients charged with vehicle offenses. We are immediately available to meet with you to get started working on a compelling defense to the charges you face. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 877-377-8666. You can also reach us through our online contact form.