WHAT IS UNAUTHORIZED USE OF A MOTOR VEHICLE (ORC 2913.03)?
In Ohio, someone is guilty of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle under Ohio Revised Code Section 2913. 03 when he or she uses a motor vehicle (car, motorcycle, boat) without the consent of the owner or individual authorized to give consent.
The state must show that the person did not have permission to operate the vehicle, but chose to operate the vehicle anyway.
The City of Columbus has a similar statue with language that mirrors the language contained in the state code. Columbus City Code 2313.03.
POTENTIAL PENALTIES FOR UNAUTHORIZED USE OF A MOTOR VEHICLE
Conviction of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle is a first-degree misdemeanor, and the potential penalties include:
180 days in jail
$1000 maximum fine
However, if the motor vehicle is damaged, the individual removes the vehicle to another state, or the individual keeps the vehicle for longer than 48 hours, then the potential penalties increase greatly and are potential felony violations.
DEFENSES TO UNATHORIZED USE OF A MOTOR VEHICLE
There are two affirmative defenses to unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. An affirmative defense is where if a Defendant can show certain facts, then he or she is not guilty of the crime.
If the defendant can show she reasonably believed she was authorized to use or operate the property; or
If the defendant reasonably believed that the owner would authorize the use of the vehicle.
Each case is different and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle is sometimes closely related to theft offenses. If you have questions about your Columbus unauthorized use of a motor vehicle charge, talk to our defense attorneys at 614-361-2804.