Maryland Carjacking Lawyer
Carjacking is the criminal offense of taking someone else’s vehicle. Because cars are so valuable and useful, the law in Maryland takes exception to people who break this law. Therefore, the penalties for a conviction for carjacking are severe, and can lead to decades in jail.
A Maryland carjacking lawyer can help you fight the charge. By raising effective legal defenses and reasonable doubts about the prosecutor’s case, a skilled theft attorney can help to protect your future by invoking your rights and arguing on your behalf in court.
What is Carjacking?
In Maryland, carjacking means taking unauthorized control of someone else’s motor vehicle by fear, force, or violence, while that person is in possession of their vehicle. This definition comes from Maryland Criminal Code § 3-405.
There are a couple of elements to the offense of carjacking that bear explanation.
Carjacking Versus Stealing a Car
There is a critical difference between carjacking and stealing someone else’s car. While both offenses involve making off with someone else’s vehicle without their authorization or consent, stealing a car happens when the car owner is not in actual possession of the vehicle at the time of the offense. Carjacking, on the other hand, involves wresting control of the vehicle from the owner, while the owner is in the vehicle.
This difference is not trivial: The penalties for carjacking are vastly worse than simply stealing a car.
Permanent Deprivation is Not Necessary
Importantly, carjacking does not require the defendant to have committed the act with the intent to keep the car permanently. Unlike many other kinds of theft, prosecutors do not have to show that there was an intent to permanently deprive the owner of their vehicle in order to gain a conviction for carjacking.
Carjacking While Armed
Additionally, the statute that prohibits carjacking has a separate section for carjacking scenarios where a defendant was armed. An armed carjacking is more serious than an unarmed one, with the penalties for a conviction rising even higher.
Potential Carjacking Penalties
A carjacking is one of the most severe criminal offenses in Maryland, with a conviction carrying up to 30 years in jail. If the alleged carjacking was done while armed with a deadly weapon, the penalties can be even worse.
Related Charges that Often Come with Carjacking Allegations
Carjacking charges rarely come alone, especially if the alleged carjacking involved the use of force to pull a driver from their vehicle. In these cases, there will likely be assault and battery charges, in addition to the carjacking offense. Where a weapon was brandished, there can also be a charge for a gun crime, as firearms are not to be used in the commission of a felony.
Defending Against a Carjacking Accusation
With the penalties so severe, hiring a Maryland carjacking lawyer becomes essential. With an attorney’s help, defendants can benefit from the experience of a skilled advocate with knowledge of the law and criminal procedure.
One way to mitigate the damage in even the worst cases is to argue that the offense was a robbery, not a carjacking. If the driver of the vehicle was not in actual possession of their car at the time of the offense, then the penalties of a conviction diminish dramatically.
A Maryland carjacking lawyer has numerous other legal defenses that can be used in addition to reducing the alleged crime from a carjacking to a robbery. Talking to an attorney can help a defendant understand which stands the best chance of success in their situation.
Call a Maryland Carjacking Attorney Today
If you have been accused of carjacking, your future can be in peril. The costs of a conviction for carjacking are serious, and the jail sentence can be among the longest available for a conviction.
Call a Maryland carjacking lawyer to discuss your legal options and to hire an advocate that can defend your rights and interests in the face of such a serious criminal accusation.