How to Convict Someone of Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle ?
A person commits the offense of unauthorized use of a vehicle if he intentionally or knowingly operates another's motor-propelled vehicle without the effective consent of the owner. TEX. PEN. CODE ANN. 31.07 (Vernon 1994).
Thus, to obtain a conviction for this offense, the State must show that the defendant operated the vehicle with the knowledge that he did not have the effective consent of the owner. McQueen v. State, 781 S.W.2d 600 (Tex. Crim. App. 1989); Gardner v. State, 780 S.W.2d 259 (Tex. Crim. App. 1989).
A person acts knowingly, or with knowledge with respect to the circumstances surrounding his conduct, when he is aware that the circumstances exist. TEX. PEN. CODE ANN. 6.02 (Vernon 1994).
It is a defense to this crime that the defendant through mistake of fact formed the belief that he had the owner's consent to operate the vehicle. See TEX. PEN. CODE ANN. 8.02 (Vernon 1994); Gardner, 780 S.W.2d at 263.