Maryland Auto Theft Lawyer

An auto theft charge is when someone takes another person’s vehicle without permission and with the intention to permanently deprive that person of their vehicle. Auto theft meets all the elements of theft, except that it is the theft of a motor vehicle. The consequences for an auto theft charge are severe, therefore, it is essential for a defendant to seek the services of a Maryland auto theft lawyer. If you have been arrested for auto theft, contact a well-established theft attorney today.

Auto Theft Penalties

Auto theft is a felony in Maryland that carries the penalties of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. If a defendant has already been convicted of an auto theft offense, then they could potentially be facing harsher penalties. Maryland has no specific enhancement for motor vehicle theft the way it does for some other charges, but the court will consider the prior conviction at sentencing. That previous offense is certain to increase the likelihood that the defendant receives a more severe sentence. Prosecutors may argue that the person is a habitual offender and whatever penalties that were imposed for the first conviction were not harsh enough.

A person with a previous conviction charge will make it more difficult for the defense lawyer. A Maryland auto theft attorney will have to explain to the judge why they should not go along with the prosecutor’s argument and why the person convicted of motor vehicle theft once did so again.

Preparing a Defense for Auto Theft in Maryland

A Maryland auto theft lawyer will look at the elements of the case and what the state needs to prove in order to counter them. One of the most common defenses is the knowing element. This means that the defendant must have knowingly taken the motor vehicle from another person. This is an important element of the case because there are situations in which someone is unaware that they are driving a stolen vehicle. For example, if an individual is driving a car that their friend let them borrow, they have a good reason to believe that they are driving the vehicle legally when, in fact, the car was stolen by their friend.

The government must prove that the defendant knew or should have known that they did not have permission to operate the vehicle. The condition of the vehicle, such as damage to the ignition column could support the situation one way or the other. The knowledge element of the case can be difficult to prove in many cases, so a defense strategy will focus on countering the government’s position on this element.

Contacting a Maryland Auto Theft Attorney

If someone is facing auto theft charges in Maryland, they have the potential of going to jail for up to five years. In addition, they could be facing probation, fines, restitution, and other collateral consequences. Whenever someone is facing these serious charges, they should seek the services of a Maryland auto theft lawyer. Auto theft is a felony offense and an attorney could help someone avoid the serious repercussions that come with felony charges.

Maryland Auto Theft Lawyer