What happens whencharges for unauthorized use of a vehicle is filed?

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What happens whencharges for unauthorized use of a vehicle is filed?

My husband asked for my keys Saturday morning to go and change my oil; so, I gave him my keys reluctantly. He has been gone for almost 3 days and he called me this morning saying that he would bring it back today but I haven’t heard from him since. Now we are married but the car is in my name and I bought it before we got together. So if I put a warrant for unauthorized use, how much jail time is he looking at? And if I get my car back, what will happen if I don’t go through with pressing charges on him?

Asked on March 14, 2011 under Criminal Law, North Carolina

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I would consider speaking with an attorney in your area on this matter and I would NOT file any charges against your husband at this point in time.  First, you gave him the keys voluntarily.  The law does not care if it was "reluctantly" or otherwise.  There are very few instances under the law - at least on the civil side and I am sure on the criminal side as well - where you can "prove" even that they were stolen by someone who has had access to the keys and vehicle prior to the occurrence, who has driven the vehicle before, etc.  If you file the complaint just to get the car back and do not press charges you could be charged with filing a false report - a crime in and of itself.  Maybe you should instead file a missing persons report and when they find him, consider seeking some help or legal guidance.  It does not appear from your question that your relationship is on solid footing.  Good luck.


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