Rhode Island Driving Without Consent of Owner or Lessee Lawyer

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Driving without consent of owner or lessee is a criminal offense under Rhode Island General Laws 31-9-1. In Rhode Island, it is unlawful for a person to temporarily drive a vehicle that they do not own and without the vehicle owner’s consent. Under this Rhode Island law, it is a felony if you temporarily drive another person’s vehicle without consent, and you can also be charged if you are a passenger in a car that was taken without consent or if you help another person unlawfully take the car.

As experienced Rhode Island criminal defense lawyers at Ellison Law LLC, we have helped many clients in Rhode Island avoid criminal conviction under motor vehicle charges and have helped our clients avoid fines, prison time, and other serious consequences of a conviction under this driving without consent law.

When Can You Be Charged With Driving Without Consent Of Owner/Lessee?

There are a few different ways you can be charged with driving without consent of the owner or lessee. You can be charged if:

  • you drove a vehicle,
  • the vehicle was not your vehicle,
  • you did not have the consent of the vehicle’s owner or lessee,
  • and you had the intent temporarily to deprive the owner or lessee of his or her possession of the vehicle, without intent to steal the vehicle

In addition, if you assist in, or are a party or accessory to or an accomplice in any unauthorized taking or driving, you could also be charged. The law also helps to clarify when consent takes place by stating that “the consent of the owner or lessee of a vehicle to its taking or driving shall not in any case be presumed or implied because of the owner’s or lessee’s consent on a prior occasion to the taking or driving of that vehicle by the same or a different person.”

What Are The Penalties For Driving Without Consent Of The Owner Or Lessee?

Driving without consent of the owner or lessee is a felony criminal offense. The law can be found in Rhode Island General Laws 31-9-1. If you are charged with driving without consent of the owner or lessee, then you could face:

  • A fine of up to $5,000
  • A prison term of up to 5 years, or
  • Both a fine and imprisonment

Because a charge of driving without consent of the owner or lessee is a felony, a guilty charge would result in a felony on your record. A felony on your record has many collateral consequences, so it is especially important to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to make sure you have effective representation.

How Is Driving Without Consent of The Owner or Lessee Different From Possession Of A Stolen Vehicle?

Driving without consent of the owner or lessee is a different criminal offense than possession of a stolen vehicle. Under the possession of a stolen vehicle statute, Rhode Island General Law 31-9-2, you can be charged if you intend to procure or pass title to a vehicle that you know or have reason to believe was stolen or unlawfully taken or have possession of any vehicle which you know or have reason to believe has been stolen or unlawfully taken. You can also be charged if you have possession of a vehicle that you know or have reason to believe was stolen or unlawfully taken.

How To Avoid A Felony Conviction Under Driving Without Consent of Owner/Lessee?

It is strongly advised to seek legal counsel from a skilled Rhode Island criminal defense attorney who will help you navigate the legal system and advocate for you throughout the process. If you are facing a criminal charge under a law like driving a vehicle without consent, it is especially important to work with an experienced lawyer because a criminal conviction will result in either fines, prison time, or both. The attorneys at Ellison Law LLC have helped many clients avoid getting a felony on their record and have helped clients avoid fines and prison time. If you or a loved one has been charged with driving without consent of the owner or lessee, contact us online or at 401-230-5520.

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