State v. Simonov

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 03-18-2015
  • Case #: A151415
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Sercombe, P.J. for the Court; Hadlock, J.; & Tookey, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

A conviction under ORS 164.135(1)(a) for unauthorized use of a vehicle may only be reached if the jury finds that defendant knowingly used the vehicle without the consent of its owner.

Defendant appealed a conviction for unauthorized use of a vehicle (UUV), arguing that the trial court erred by instructing the jury that a UUV conviction requires merely a “criminally negligent” mental state. Evidence at trial showed that Defendant made preliminary arrangements to purchase his neighbor’s vehicle. After taking the vehicle for a test drive, extending over an hour, Defendant failed to answer the vehicle’s owner’s phone calls. Conflicting evidence offered at trial purported that Defendant drove the vehicle to Portland. The vehicle’s owner reported the vehicle as stolen. Defendant returned the vehicle several hours later. After evidence was presented, the trial court instructed the jury that if it found Defendant’s mental state to be “criminally negligent” as to whether the owner consented to the use of the vehicle, Defendant would be liable for UUV. On review, the Court assessed a long line of cases holding that a defendant may only be convicted of UUV if the jury finds that the defendant “knowingly” used a vehicle without the consent of the owner. The state failed to show that the previous interpretations were plainly wrong, and accordingly, the Court reversed and remanded the case for proper jury instructions. Reversed and remanded.

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