Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle
In Massachusetts, under MGL c. 90 s. 24, use of a motor vehicle without authority carries a mandatory minimum 30 day jail sentence, up to the following potential penalties:
- 30 days (minimum) up to 2 years in jail*
- $500 fine (minimum) up to $5,000 fine
- 1 year license loss (mandatory) up to 3 years license loss
* A subsequent conviction for this offense is a felony, and carries up to 5 years in state prison.
This charge very often arises out of a misunderstanding. In order to be convicted of this charge, the prosecution must prove that you did not have authority to operate the motor vehicle, and also that you knew you did not have authority or permission to operate the motor vehicle. Very often, this charge arises if you drive a friend's car while your license is suspended. In such an instance, your friend will receive a criminal citation for allowing an unlicensed person to operate his/ her motor vehicle. In order to avoid criminal charges, your friend denies that he/she ever gave you permission to drive the car, and now you are facing a mandatory minimum jail sentence. It is important that you contact a skilled criminal defense attorney immediately upon receiving notice of charges, or potential charges. Do not speak to any law enforcement about the incident. The prosecution is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you did not have authority to drive the car, and also that you knew you did not have such authority. Do not help them make a case against you.
If you have been charged with using a motor vehicle without authority, contact our office immediately:(617) 830-2188