Can I be arrested for using my live in boyfriend's car to escape his abuse?

Legal Questions & AnswersCategory: CriminalCan I be arrested for using my live in boyfriend's car to escape his abuse?
ThePMSBeast Staff asked 3 years ago

I have been living with my boyfriend for over a year now in Florida. He is abusive and when trying to have him arrested for domestic Violence I am met with down right hostility from the police, this is because he is a correctional’s Officer and they take his word over mine even when I have physical marks on me.
I was told by the police that if i call on him again that I will be arrested as well, so i just have to endure the abuse. I have a small baby and want to leave this guy..here is my question:
We have two cars, one we just bought for me to use while he is at work. The car loan, registration and insurance is in his name..but, I have full unrestricted access to this car, it’s considered “mine” by both of us and I have my own set of keys and can use it whenever i wish.
I want to leave this guy and go back home, can he have me arrested for stealing the car if drive it home (California) and then let him know where he can pick up the car?
I am desperate to get out, my family cannot help me with plane/bus fare and no agencies out here will help me. Please Help!

1 Answers
juliekreutzer Staff answered 3 years ago

If the car is titled in his name then he can call the police and say you stole it. You are not married, which makes you more vulnerable, unless you fit the commonlaw marriage criteria in Florida and that would give you enough rights to use the vehicle but it sounds risky.  The best plan is to call a Safehouse and go there with the baby at once.  Then develop a plan with them as to the safest course of action that is legal (considering there is a baby) and get your allies together (friends, relatives who can assist you in getting home without the car).  The Safehouse will usually have some legal resources to help evaluate if you are on safe ground leaving the state with the baby if no action has been filed for custody.  It may well be you can move because no action has been filed but that you might want to file when you get back home to get child support and other issues worked out.  It also may be that when you get back home, you’ll have a far more sympathetic reception.  Again, check with the Safehouse team on this to be sure you are on safe ground with this and good luck to you.