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Cooldil17's avatar

Is it legal for your parents to report your car as stolen if you for whatever reason do not come home before their set curfew?

Asked by Cooldil17 (482 points ) May 7th, 2010

If you are out with your friends and your parents call telling you that you have to be home by 12am or the police will be called and the car will be reported stolen. And you refuse to come home at this time (Even though you are 18 and have no legal curfew) is it legal for the parents to then call the police and report the car as “stolen”?

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29 Answers

ubersiren's avatar

If the car is in your name, then they can’t do that. If it’s in their name, they can.

Silhouette's avatar

Yes, if the car is in their name. Their car, their house, their rules. :o)

Cooldil17's avatar

But if they are lying, if their is proof that they gave permission for the car to be used?

skfinkel's avatar

Harsh. I wouldn’t use their car at all. If you are 18, get a job, and get your own car. While you are living in their house, it is their rules. And I would guess that is the same with the curfew. If you don’t like it, time to move out.

Cooldil17's avatar

Yeah, I don’t mean to sound cliche but this is actually about my friend lol. I have my own car. But thank you!

Fred931's avatar

This is definitely legal, but hopefully the parents in question love their child enough not to sue and that they are only using the police as a way to wrangle him/her in followed by some knuckle-swatting.

Storybooklover's avatar

I can see both sides. I think the child should follow his parent’s rules, he is living with them and it is their car. However, I know from experience plans change, things come up, etc. The parents should be more fair. I guess it would be legal for them to report it stolen if it is registered in their name.

Cooldil17's avatar

But if it is found out that not only did they lie about the child being able to use the car but lying on a police report?

Storybooklover's avatar

Well in that case, of course not. You’re gonna get you’re kid in serious trouble because he’s late coming home ? You obviously think he’s responsible enough to borrow you’re car in the first place ! Why can’t you trust there’s a reason for him not making it in on time.

john65pennington's avatar

A vehicle is not stolen, if the owner knows who has the vehicle and its possible location. at best, this would be a breach of trust and not auto theft. this appears to be a scare tactic by your parents. if the vehicle is in your name and you are 18, the police will not make a report. your parents will be advised of this by the responding officers.

ETpro's avatar

Filing a false report is illegal in nearly every US state, as far as I know. I think the parents should think long and hard about finding a better way to enforce their authority over curfew than that. But I also think that it’s a parent’s right and indeed their duty to set limits on their minor children and that you should respect those limits without there ever being any need for them to take such drastic action as that.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@Cooldil17 If your friends parent’s told him he only had permission to use the car until midnight, then after midnight he no longer has their permission. I don’t know how much the police would really get involved, but once someone requests their property back, the borrower is suppose to return it.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@john65pennington So if the kid took the car to his friends house (with or without permission) and refused to return it when told to, that isn’t considered stealing? I thought the refusal to return the property would indicate “stealing”.

ETpro's avatar

@Seaofclouds @john65pennington can speak more authoritatively to this with his police background, but I believe that when someone demands borrowed property back, the property must be returned within some reasonable time, but not instantaneously. I recall that in the Gizmodo lawsuit, Apple sued to recover its lost property when Gizmodo refused to return it within 24 hours.

YARNLADY's avatar

When the owner of a car grants the use of the car to someone, they do not, then have the right to report it stolen, unless they know for a fact that the driver has no intention of returning the car. These people knew the car would be returned, and therefore a theft report would be false.

cazzie's avatar

Yeah, false report and wasting police time. yada yada… It depends on the local cops too.
But that’s not REALLY what you’re talking about here, is it?
You’re using their car and living in their house and you’re pouting that they want you and the car back by midnight. Stop pouting. That’s just lame…. don’t start a fight over it.. get your butt home. (If you still live at home, it’s their house, their rules.) If they want you home at midnight, be home at midnight. I’m over 40 and I can’t play my stereo after 11pm because the neighbours can hear it. I can hear them too, so we all quiet down after 11… some of us have kids. See… rules for life and getting along don’t stop when you turn 18. Do you work and pay rent? If you were mine, you would be, unless you were going to school, then you WOULD have a curfew, especially on school nights. And if you kept being late, you would lose car privileges all together and there would be no need for silly threats.

OH.. and BE NICE to your parents. You won’t have them forever and you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

OpryLeigh's avatar

If the car is in their name then legally they can but I do think that this is wasting police time. In the time they are looking for their “stolen” car, the police could be deaing with something more important.

john65pennington's avatar

The vehicle is not stolen, if the owner loaned the vehicle to someone. the initial act was a loan. it then becomes a breach of trust. the same applies to rented automobiles, if the renter does not bring the auto back to the business, as stated on the signed contract, this is a breach of trust and not auto theft. the renters name and address is known and stated on the contract. if an unknown person walked onto the lot of the car rental place and stole one of their rental cars, THIS would be an auto theft, not a breach of trust. the difference is knowing or not knowing the identitiy of the thief. in the this case, the son is known and permission to use the vehicle was granted by his parents. so, this makes this situation a breach of trust and not auto theft.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Hmm, “their house, their rules”, yes, but the young person is a legal adult at 18. It’s time for them to come together and readjust expectations. 18 is not 13.

Threatening to call the cops over a broken midnight curfew is far too controlling at this point, I believe. Then again, I realize that many parents are not emotionally ready to hand over the reigns to their kids and will try to control their behaviour well past age 18, so there ends up being situations like this.

Tell your pal to move out ASAP. Doesn’t mean the parents still won’t have a problem letting go, but it makes it easier when the child no longer lives at home.

Zaku's avatar

Like john65pennington explained, it’s not theft. The parents are trying to be controlling and punitive and trying to threaten to use the police to enforce their own home curfew rules, instead of figuring out how to express their own wishes or boundaries appropriately. If they lied to the police telling them it was “stolen” and not explaining it, the police would I hope cite the parents for false reporting. Sigh. The kid should move out and get away from the freaky parents, IMO.

nikipedia's avatar

My mom tried that shit. I bought my own car and moved out. Sorry your friend’s parents are jerks.

Silhouette's avatar

@nikipedia Good advice. The kid in question does have the option to purchase his own car and find his own place to live. Then he’d be in the position to ignore his parents rules, until then….

thriftymaid's avatar

When they let you use their car, it is for a specified period of time. If you keep it beyond that you are illegally in possession of their property. Yes, it’s legal.

YARNLADY's avatar

@thriftymaid No, only if there is an intent to not return the car at all. To exceed the allotted time does not quality as theft.

tatiana's avatar

My friend just found out after she loaned her car to her niece last Sunday and the car has not been returned. There is basically nothing the police can do for her. Amazing. I will never loan my car.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Cooldil17 But if they are lying, if their is proof that they gave permission for the car to be used? You could give me permission to borrow your Skidoo, even have a hand writen note telling me where to find it and asking me to replace tha gas, but if I keep it longer than what you agreed or I simply don’t return it then it would be legally theft on my part because I am not living up to the meeting of the minds we had before.

Pankakejoe's avatar

I’m int this same situation literally as I type this! I’m at a friends house at 6:21 AM, 2 days before my 18th birthday. I borrowed my moms car last night cause we were gonna go party (we never found one btw) so we go to my friends house to chill and watch Adult Swim. A couple hours later I drive home(4:00 AM) but my mom locked me out! So I took the car back to my friends house to sleep. I told her where I was (txted her) and apologized and begged to talk about it tomorrow. An hour later we awoke to fierce pounding on the door! My mom txted me to come outside and when my friend (dumbly) looked at the door window he saw a cop! So we are gonna wait for them to come back later (I’m losing my mind) and see what happens…it’s 6:26 now…tonight has been hellish for me…would my friend get in trouble for having me here?

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