Family squabbles can often lead to criminal charges when family members make quick decisions. This is often the case when parents are upset about their teen or adult child using the family vehicle, and may decide to teach the child a lesson by calling the police and saying that the child has stolen the vehicle. If you find yourself in this situation, the charges that you face are serious — especially if your parents stay firm and don't intend to drop them. You'll need to quickly hire a criminal defense attorney who can build a case for you. Here are some defenses that you may wish to use.
Keys Kept In Plain Sight
Part of your defense in this situation may be that your parents kept the keys to the vehicle in plain sight — for example, hanging on a hook near the front door or sitting on the kitchen counter. If your parents didn't want you to take the vehicle without their knowledge and/or permission, it's likely that they'd keep the keys on their person, locked up, or in a place that you couldn't find them. Your defense attorney may be able to argue that by keeping the keys in plain sight, your parents were accepting of your usage of the vehicle.
It's a difficult situation if you've often used the family vehicle, but a recent fight with your parents has led them to call the police and say that you took the vehicle without their permission. You'll want to tell your criminal defense attorney how you've used the vehicle on many different occasions. This can be instrumental in supporting your argument that you didn't maliciously take the vehicle. Look for different ways that you can support your claim, such as gas receipts, photos taken in the vehicle, and more.
Lack Of Written Rules
Your parents may argue that they told you not to take the vehicle, and you can counter by saying that they didn't. This "he said, she said" situation may potentially work in your favor because your parent won't be able to prove that you weren't supposed to take the vehicle. Stress to your attorney that you weren't privy to any written rule/request about not using the vehicle. If you can provide details about these points to your attorney, the attorney will ideally be able to get the case against you dismissed — which will prevent you from having a criminal record.
Reach out to a firm like Wolfe Jones Wolfe Hancock Daniel & South LLC for more information.