Q: Can I say my car was stolen?
I let my friend borrow my car to go to the gas station and back. I have a witness that I said, "Promise me, only the gas station and straight back" and he said, "Yes, I promise. There and back." 4 hours later I get a call that he has totaled my car in a ditch driving drunk. He also left with my cell phone which I was not aware of until he left. I called my phone multiple times to see where he was and the calls were ignored. Can I say that my car was stolen after the gas station? I say this because I only authorized him to go to the gas station and back. He did not call to ask or even mention going anywhere else after that location, but instead took it upon himself to do so in property that is not his and to go drink and try to drive back.
A: The proper charge is Unauthorized Access to a Motor Vehicle. If you say it was stolen your friend will retaliate with, "hey, I know him and he gave me the keys and authority to drive the car. I was gone four hours, but I had no intent to permanently deprive him of his vehicle. He knows that."
The Unauthorized Access to a Motor Vehicle is an enhanceable offense. The first offense is a Class A misdemeanor and a second, or any subsequent, is a Class D Felony.
It is to keep those serial "car taking, walkabout for 4 hour, friends" in check.
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