What is Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle (UUV) in Dallas, Texas?
Unauthorized use of a vehicle is the intentional operation of someone else’s vehicle without the consent of the owner. The vehicle involved is most often a car, but this charge can be applied to any vehicle, including airplanes and boats. This is often colloquially referred to as “joyriding”.
What is the difference between Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle and auto theft?
While both UUV and auto theft charges involve knowingly operating someone else’s vehicle without their consent, there are some major differences between a UUV/joyriding charge and an auto theft charge.
The main difference between UUV and auto theft is that auto theft involves the intent to permanently deprive the owner of their property (the vehicle). UUV does not involve that intent, but only focuses on the act of operating the vehicle without the owner’s consent. There is also no minimum value for a vehicle involved in UUV charges, while there is a minimum value in auto theft charges.
To convict you of auto theft, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you stole a specific vehicle that was worth over a certain amount of money with the intent not to return it. To convict you of a UUV, on the other hand, all they have to prove is that you knowingly operated someone else’s vehicle without the owner’s consent.
What are the potential penalties for an Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle (UUV) conviction in Dallas, Texas?
Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle (UUV) is a State Jail Felony. This means that if you are convicted, you could face:
- Imprisonment in a Texas State Jail for anywhere between 180 days and two years.
- A fine of up to $10,000
This charge can be increased or “enhanced” to a third-degree felony (with potential sentencing of up to 10 years of jail time) if a deadly weapon was involved in the crime in any way, or if you have prior felony convictions.
In addition to the penalties above, a Dallas unauthorized use of a vehicle conviction will make you a felon, which can have life-long consequences that last far beyond your initial jail term. Some of the consequences of being a felon in Texas include:
- Loss of voting rights: A Texas felony conviction means that you lose your right to vote until you complete your entire sentence (including probation/parole).
- Firearm ban: A felony conviction will revoke your right to own and operate a firearm in Texas.
- Employment limitations: A felony conviction can seriously limit your ability to find work, and may take you out of the running for higher-paying jobs and jobs in certain fields.
- Driving limitations: A UUV felony conviction may come with limitations on your driver’s license and driving privileges, as well as increased auto insurance rates.
- Child custody complications: If you are going through a divorce or separation that involves a custody dispute, now or in the future, your status as a felon may harm your custody case and affect your rights to custody of your child or children.
- Immigration issues: If you are not a U.S. citizen and have any sort of pending immigration case or status, a felony conviction can keep you from getting a green card or citizenship and can even lead to deportation.
- Public housing, rental, and leasing issues: With a felony on your record, you may be barred from certain types of Dallas public housing. In addition, Texas landlords have the right to refuse to rent you if you have a felony on your record, which can make finding any sort of housing difficult.
If you are facing Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle (UUV) charges in Dallas, TX, the right criminal defense attorney can make all the difference. Don’t let your current legal troubles define the rest of your life. Reach out to Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney David Traylor at the Traylor Law Firm for a free consultation on your Dallas UUV charges today.