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Unauthorized vehicle use in Pennsylvania. Lots of questions…

Unauthorized vehicle use in Pennsylvania...
Unauthorized vehicle use in Pennsylvania. Lots of questions need answered relating to this issue. Would gr aptly appreciate case laws where defendant was aquitted.
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Answered in 12 minutes by:
1/17/2018
Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 31,828
Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Hi,

I'm Zoey.

I've reviewed your post. Cases that have been won cannot be appealed and case law comes from the decisions of appeals to higher courts. So there is no case law published when defendants are acquitted.

If you have any questions about unauthorized use of a vehicle, however, that you would still want to ask, do so, and I'll be happy to address your concern.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Ok. Are there cases that were lost that were appealed and won?

I'm sure there are, but that's meaningless in and of itself. The issues have to be the same for it to be relevant to your case. What's your defense?

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Are you familiar with the Pennsylvania code for unauthorized vehicle use?
Customer reply replied 6 months ago
As 'meaningless' as they are if you can please send me links.
Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Here's the issue. I let my mother use my car and she give it to my sister who I don't get along with. Can I report that as unauthorized use? Is there grounds for criminal prosecution?
Customer reply replied 6 months ago
If I went to the police and just told them that my sister was driving my car and I didn't authorize it can my sister get a charge without bringing my mother into it? Especially if my mother won't testify?

I have read the statute. It's written in plain English.

https://law.justia.com/codes/pennsylvania/2010/title-18/3928

So yes. You could go to the police and try to get your sister charged with unauthorized use of the vehicle, as she did not have your consent to use it.

Here are cases where the defendant was charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle in Pennsylvania where the defendant's guilt was reversed on appeal.

https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=4%2C39&q=3928+unauthorized++reversed&btnG=

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Is there anything in the law called 'implied consent'? since I authorized my mother and she authorized my sister. Are police officers required to do a detailed investigation into how my sister actually acquired the vehicle?

Is there anything in the law called 'implied consent'?

Yes, but the law has to do with the fact that you are deemed to have consented to a blood or breath test if authorized by an officer.

Your sister's lawyer could argue that if you gave your mother consent, then your mother could do what she liked with the car. That would not be supported by the state's Implied Consent Law. But it would be a question of fact for the jury to determine if the case went to trial

There's no way your mother stays out of the picture. That is, even if you don't mention her to the police, your mother is your sister's defense and it will come up.

Are police officers required to do a detailed investigation into how my sister actually acquired the vehicle?

No. They can stop whenever they believe they have probable cause to charge the defendant. It's only when there are questions or uncertainties that they do detailed investigations.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
What law would support my mother giving her authority to use the car?i know my sister is getting a public defender and knowing how public defenders are they'll probably ask her to plead guilty.
Customer reply replied 6 months ago
I tell you. Great job you've done so far. Can I rate you and still continue my questioning?
Customer reply replied 6 months ago
The Waldron appeal is my concern here. Did Waldron beat the charge?

There's no law that supports your mother giving her the car. It will come down to whether your mother believed she could treat the car as her own.

Waldron's conviction was affirmed as to the serious charges, but they were reversed as to the unauthorized use.

I strive for 5-star service. I'm turning in for the night shortly, but if you require additional information, please post your follow up here on this question thread, and I’ll be happy to provide it in the morning.

Please take the time to rate my service to you by selecting 5 stars on the rating scale, as a rating of okay or better is the only way that JustAnswer will give us Experts credit for our work.

You would still be able to post further follow-ups on this question thread about this for no additional cost, even after I've been rated.

Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 31,828
Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Would you be able to send me case laws where the exact incident happened. Where in the situation I explained about giving the car to my mom and she giving it to someone else? Have these situations been used for fraudulent activities, i.e. Insurance schemes.
How would my mother believe she could treat my car as her own? Would that stand in court? Can my mother refuse to testify in court?

No two cases are exact and I don't see anythiing where the exact incident happened.

This is not going to come down to a question of law. It's a factual question as to whether you gave your mother the authority to let someone other than her use the car. Without your mother's testimony one way or the other, the case is going to come down to a matter of credibility.

Have these situations been used for fraudulent activities, i.e. Insurance schemes.

Was your sister in an accident or did she commit an offense of some sort using your car for which you're concerned about insurance scams?

How would my mother believe she could treat my car as her own?

I don't know what directions or warnings you gave your mother when you lent her the car. Did you say, "This is for your use only," for example? Or "Don't let my sister anywhere near my car?" Did you say anything to your mother at all about the car when you turned it over.

Can my mother refuse to testify in court?

She cannot ignore a lawfully served subpoena and can be compelled to testify.

This case will probably come down to your mother's testiimony about what she thought you intended vs what you thought you intended when you gave the car to her. And that's if it comes to trial. The overwhelming number of criminal cases plead out.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
What do you mean "if it comes to trial". When you say plead out do you mean she'll plead not guilty? Then trial, then mom has to testify? And since she can't lie under oath I'll lose the case? I didn't tell the officer i let gave my my permission to use the car. Could I get in trouble for not revealing that information to the judge ?

What I mean is that every criminal defendant whose case goes forward has two choices. The first is to have her attorney negotiate a favorable plea opportunity to resolve the case. The second is to fight the case at hearings and trials. The vast majority of cases do not get to trial. The defendant accepts a deal to get rid of the case. That's what I mean by "if it comes to trial." So yes, I mean she may plead guilty to something to get rid of the case. She doesn't have to do that right away. She can switch her plea from not guilty to guilty at any point during the course of the case.

Then trial, then mom has to testify?

The defense would want your mother to testify.

And since she can't lie under oath I'll lose the case?

I don't know. It depends on what you told your mother. I'm sure you didn't tell her she could lend the car to your sister, did you?

I didn't tell the officer i let gave my my permission to use the car.

The question is not whether you gave the car to your mother. It's whether your sister had your permission to use your car.

Could I get in trouble for not revealing that information to the judge ?

See above. But if you expect the prosecutor to be able to win your case, it pays not to surprise him with a fact he doesn't expect.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Ok so in the case law I mentioned earlier the guy obviously did not have permission to drive the car. However, he won that charge. Is that not the same situation here?
Customer reply replied 6 months ago
What I'm driving at is case laws with unauthorized vehicle use in which the defendant(sister) wasn't given permission by the owner(me) and it was a other thrown out or reversed cuz someone else(mom) who the car was given to authorized the defendant to drive the car.

NO. No two cases are the same.

Your case will be decided based on the evidence that comes out on the stand.

The underlying facts of the appealed case are entirely different. The car in question was a stolen car in the first place.

If you are so concerned about the outcome of this case, perhaps you ought to let the prosecutor know that the defendant got the car from your mother, but you did not authorize her to lend it to anyone so that she can be prepared for your sister's defense.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Will it change anything if I tell the prosecutor that? The fact still remains that I lend my mom the car not my sister.. I didn't think she would allow my sister to drive it so obviously I didn't tell her she couldn't let my sist r drive it.

It might weaken the case. But whether it changes anything or not isn't really relevant. The prosecutor MUST know of this in order to prepare the case if it goes to trial. In any event it will come up on the first court date, because if I were your sister's lawyer, I would be arguaing that she had permission from your mother.

The important thing is that you did not lend the car to your sister and that your mother knows you don't get along with your sister and that you wouldn't want her to drive your car.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
You're giving very good pointers but I'm still kinda confused. I'm concluding it really doesn't matter whether my mom gave her the car. I the owner did not give permission. Why won't she be convicted just based on that? Or is that where case laws come in and she walks free?

It's all a question of fact for the jury if it gets that far. If they believe she had permission, she walks free. If they don't, she gets convicted of the misdemeanor.

Have a good weekend.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Permission from the person who doesn't own the car and she walks free? So what's the essence of the law if it says the owner doesn't give permission?
Customer reply replied 6 months ago
My permission really doesn't count?

What counts is what the jury believes.

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