Motor Vehicle Theft
Motor Vehicle Theft 7-105
The definition of theft in general in any state is the intentional taking and carrying away the property of another person with the intent to never return it and therefore deprive the owner. A defense to the charge of theft is that the person who took the property reasonably believed it belonged to him or her. When the property that is intentionally taken is a motor vehicle, there are more specific definitions of the crime of theft.
According to the criminal code 7-105 in the state of Maryland, “a person may not knowingly and willfully take a motor vehicle out of the owner’s lawful custody, control, or use without the owner’s consent.” The code defines an owner as someone who has lawful possession of the car.
If the state proves beyond a reasonable doubt that someone has done this, that person is guilty of the felony of motor vehicle theft. The term motor vehicle is self-explanatory and applies to all vehicles that have a motor including:
- Snow mobiles
- Golf carts
The penalty for a first time offender may be up to five years in prison or a fine up to $5,000 or both imprisonment and a fine. In addition, the convicted felon will have to either restore the vehicle in the exact same condition it was in when it was taken, or pay the owner the amount equal to what the full value of the vehicle was at the time it was stolen.
Motor vehicle theft may also be charged under the general theft section of the Maryland criminal code for stealing property valued at more than $1,000. The penalties under this section are harsher than under the specific motor vehicle theft statute and can result in a sentence of more than 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000 depending on the value of the stolen vehicle. In addition, the vehicle must be returned in the condition it was in when it was taken, or it must be paid for.
If you have been arrested or charged with this offense, you must know that there are serious consequences to any felony conviction even if you avoid spending time in custody. A felony on your record may affect your ability to get a job or any type of bank loan. It can even be an obstacle to obtaining housing. An experienced criminal defense attorney can evaluate your case and determine what defenses may be available to you under the law that may help you avoide a conviction. For example:
- You truly believed you had a right to use the vehicle.
- The vehicle belonged to your spouse with whom you were living at the time you drove the vehicle.
- You sincerely believed you had an ownership interest in the vehicle and the right to take and control it.
If you have been arrested or charged with motor vehicle theft, you need the assistance of an experienced and aggressive criminal defense law firm. Contact Robinson & Associations for an immediate and free consultation. We have more than 20 years of experience handling criminal matters and are available to you 24 hours a day seven days a week. Call us at 443-524-7395. We will meet with you, review the facts of your case and advise you on the best way to proceed.