Unlawfully Driving Away of an Automobile Charges
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Unlawfully Driving Away of an Automobile (UDAA) is actually not a theft crime. To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person took possession of a motor vehicle without the owner’s permission. It does not matter whether the person intended to permanently keep the vehicle.
The prosecutor must also prove that the person had the specific intent to commit the offense, meaning it was not a mistake. UDAA is a felony punishable by up to four years in prison. Assisting another to unlawfully possess the vehicle is unlawful, too, as long as there is a specific intent to do so.
Mistake is a common and effective defense to this offense. Lesser offenses include the misdemeanor offenses of joyriding and unlawful use of a motor vehicle.
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