There are many statutes under Pennsylvania law dealing with Theft Crimes specifically Unauthorized Use of an automobile. They range from minor traffic violations to DUI to theft of an automobile. Drivers can also find themselves being charged with a motor vehicle violation if they are driving one that does not belong to them and they don’t have the owner’s permission to do so. burglary Officially, this is known as unauthorized use of an automobile and is defined under section 3928 of the Pa criminal code. This offense is considered a type of theft. Due to this fact, it is a misdemeanor of the second degree which can carry a jail sentence of up to two years. Built into the statute is an affirmative defense. The defense essentially is that the person operating the vehicle had a reasonable belief that the owner would have consented to them using the vehicle had the owner known about it. While it is a type of theft, it is considered a lesser offense than other types of vehicle thefts.
The difference between the types of theft crimes concerning the Unauthorized use of an automobile is the way in which the vehicle was obtained. Typical auto theft involves the use of physical force, deception or extortion. Juvenile crimes However, these elements are not present in the unlawful use of an automobile. In order to get a better understanding of the difference let’s say a teenager with a valid license takes the keys to their parent’s car off the designated key hook and decides to drive the car around while the parents are out of town. The teenager didn’t have consent to drive that car and therefore could be charged under this statue. However, let’s say that the teenager breaks the window of the car, and hotwires the car to start. The second method of obtaining the vehicle is clearly more extreme and involves the use of force and can open the teenager to harsher chargers of vehicle theft. Given the relative serious nature of the crime which can result from a simple misunderstanding, it is important if you have been charged under this statute to have good legal representation. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Kelly and Conte are experienced attorneys who will help you decipher the facts of your case and will fight for the best resolution.