Carjacking Attorney in Lansing
Being accused of carjacking in Lansing is not something to be taken lightly. This is a very serious charge that can change your whole life. If you are facing a carjacking charge, you need to understand what can be done in your defense. Call our theft defense attorneys at Grabel & Associates and fight for your freedom.
What Constitutes as Carjacking?
There are a number of crimes that involve stealing a car, and they are all a little different. In order to better understand what carjacking is and what it is not, it is important to go over all types of car theft to better distinguish carjacking.
Joyriding is the least serious of these crimes. It involves taking an empty car without permission and without the intent to steal or sell it for profit. A teenager, for example, who takes a parent's car to go to the movies, might be charged with joyriding, so long as the teenager had no intention of keeping the car or selling it to anyone.
Grand theft auto is one of the more serious charges. It occurs when one person takes another person's empty vehicle without permission and intends to keep it or sell it for profit. Those convicted of grand theft auto may spend years in prison and pay large fines. The amount of time in jail and payment of fines is usually decided on a case-by-case basis. This is because stealing a new BMW is not the same as stealing a 20-year-old rusty Chevrolet, as the two cars have vastly different values. A person's prior convictions will also play a role in determining the amount of jail time and fines.
Finally, a person can also be charged with Unlawfully Driving Away an Automobile in Lansing. According to Section 750.413 of the Michigan Penal Code, this offense involves taking possession of another person's empty vehicle and willfully driving away with it. Even if you are only helping another person commit this felony, you can still be charged. If convicted, a person may face up to five years in prison.
You will notice that with all these crimes, the words "empty vehicle" are used. This is critical in understanding carjacking. Carjacking involves taking a vehicle that is currently occupied, presumably by the owner. Section 750.529(a) states that a carjacking happens when a person in the course of committing a larceny of a motor vehicle uses force or violence or the threat of force or violence, or who puts in fear any operator, passenger, or person in lawful possession of the motor vehicle, or any person lawfully attempting to recover the motor vehicle. If you force the driver and passengers out of the car and take the car, you can be charged with carjacking.
There are a few misconceptions about carjacking charges. Some think that if a weapon is not used, then it cannot be carjacking, but this is not true. Michigan law states that a weapon does not actually have to be used in carjacking cases. Force or the threat of violence could be enough to lead to a carjacking charge.
A person may also face a carjacking charge if the car is unoccupied at the time of the theft, but the owner of the vehicle sees it and gives chase. If the person is involved in an altercation with the driver - perhaps threatening to hit the driver if he or she does not hand over the keys to the vehicle - then the person may also face a carjacking charge.
If you still have questions about carjacking charges in Lansing, speak with an attorney who can help you better understand these charges, should you be facing them.
Carjacking and Kidnapping
Charges of carjacking become even more serious when people are still in the car when it is taken. This sometimes happens when a person steals a car and does not realize that there is a sleeping child in the backseat.
A person facing kidnapping charges might be looking at a felony with very serious consequences if convicted. Life imprisonment is a possibility, as is a fine of up to $50,000 (750.349). It is important to be aware of this charge because it is sometimes linked with carjacking. Speak to an attorney if you are facing both of these charges.
Consequences of Carjacking
Carjacking is a felony charge in Lansing, and prosecutors are willing to punish those charged to the fullest extent of the law. Similar to grand theft auto, a person can serve a life imprisonment sentence for carjacking under certain circumstances.
If the convicted person has any prior convictions, then he or she may face more time in jail. The value of the car stolen will also help determine how much jail time a person is given. Weapons or any other sort of violence used will also be taken into account, as well any harm that was actually done to the driver or any of the passengers.
Some prosecutors have been known to try and turn a joyriding charge into a carjacking charge. If you require the skills of an attorney, call Grabel & Associates. We will go over all the facts of your case and make sure you are fairly charged. We will also build you a solid defense and fight to help you retain your freedom.
Contact Grabel & Associates
A carjacking conviction can derail your future. It can result in a significant amount of time spent behind bars as well as hefty fines that can greatly hurt your financial stability. A conviction can also seriously damage your reputation in your community and make it difficult to hold down a good job or go back to school.
Do not let a carjacking conviction ruin your life. If you think you might be charged or have already been charged with carjacking, call the attorneys at Grabel & Associates. Our attorneys are skilled in motor vehicle theft law, and we will work hard to build your case and get you the best possible results.
Contact Grabel & Associates at any time of day by calling our toll-free number at 1-800-342-7896 or contact us through our website. Let our attorneys defend your freedom.