Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle: Texas Penal Code §31.07

Texas Criminal Law

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The Texas Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle law gives police the right to arrest you if they believe you operated another person’s boat, airplane, or motor-propelled vehicle without the owner’s consent. This offense is commonly abbreviated “UUMV.”

The difference between UUMV and Theft is that the state does not have to prove that you intended to keep the vehicle in order to convict you of UUMV.

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The Texas legislature codified this criminal offense in Texas Penal Code Section 31.07. The law was not updated in 2023. In fact, this law has not been amended since 1993.

The Penal Code classifies the Texas Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle law under Title 7 “Offenses Against Property,” Chapter 31 “Theft.” Learn more about the Texas offense of Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle below.

What is the current Texas law about Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle?

The current Texas law defines the offense of Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in Penal Code Section §31.07 as follows:[1]

(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly operates another’s boat, airplane, or motor-propelled vehicle without the effective consent of the owner.

How can I be charged with an Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle offense in Texas?

You can be charged with Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in Texas if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of 31.07(a) as described in the section above have been met.

What is the statute of limitation for Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in Texas?

Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle offenses have a three-year limitations period.[2]

What is the penalty for a Texas Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle offense?

A conviction for Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in Texas is punished as a State Jail Felony,[3] with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $10,000 and jail time of up to two years. Learn about the differences between grades of felonies and misdemeanors here.

Can you get probation for Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in Texas?

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure allows both judges and juries to grant probation for Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle, and judges are also allowed to accept deferred adjudication plea deals.[4]

Note, however, that judges may not grant community supervision after a conviction if (1) the defendant used or exhibited a deadly weapon during the commission of the felony or immediate flight thereafter and (2) the defendant used or exhibited the deadly weapon himself or was a party to the offense and knew that a deadly weapon would be used or exhibited.[5]

What level of crime is Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in Texas?

The Penal Code classifies the punishment for Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle as a state jail felony.

Learn more about the penalty range for this offense in the section above.


^1. Texas Penal Code §31.07. This law is current as of the 88th Legislature Regular Session.^2. See Code of Criminal Procedure 12.01(9)^3. Texas Penal Code §31.07(b)^4. See Chapter 42, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Art. 42A.054, Art. 42A.056, Art. 42A.102 .^5. Art. 42A.054(b), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure


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