Criminal charges

unauthorized use of motor vehicle

It is a criminal offense to use or operate a motor vehicle, boat, airplane, motorcycle, or other motor-propelled vehicle without the consent of the owner or other person authorized to give consent. This crime is generally known as (1) unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, (2) unauthorized use of a vehicle, or (3) joyriding.

The difference between this crime and the crime of theft is that the state does not have to prove a person charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle intended to keep the vehicle or permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle.

Laws regarding the unauthorized use of a motor vehicle vary from state to state and are generally found in a state’s statutes—often in the penal or criminal code or the vehicle code.

State Statutes for the State of Texas

Federal Statutes