State v. Haney
Case #: A150603
Egan, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; and Nakamoto, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A150603.pdf
Criminal Law: Under ORS 161.067(2), two owners, are treated as a single owner, for the purposes of determining the number of separately punishable offenses, when they own joint interests in a vehicle.
Defendant appealed a conviction of two counts of unauthorized use of a vehicle (UUV). While the owner of the vehicle was in the hospital, Defendant came into possession of the vehicle and attempted to drive it from Washington to Oregon. Police in Washington first stopped Defendant for driving without a license and the vehicle was towed. Defendant broke into the tow yard and proceeded to drive to Oregon, where police stopped him again. The trial court charged Defendant with two separate counts of UUV. Defendant argued that both charges should merge because they are based on the same conduct. The State argued that since the owner and the tow yard held different property interests, the convictions should not merge. Under ORS 161.067(2), the Court held that the owner and the tow yard owned a joint interest in the vehicle and should be considered a single victim, therefore, the trial court erred in refusing to merge Defendant’s two convictions. Reversed and remanded with instructions to merge the two convictions into one and for resentencing; otherwise affirmed.