Carjacking is a serious offense that is viewed as a dangerous criminal act. Committing an act of carjacking can put the lives of others in danger, and thus the charges for such an offense are severe. If you receive a carjacking charge, you will face a felony conviction and can spend years in prison. Those with prior offenses can face even longer sentences with the possibility of life in prison. If you find yourself facing a criminal carjacking charge, an experienced criminal attorney can advocate for you and potentially mitigate the charges to get lighter sentencing.
Carjacking is when an individual takes unauthorized possession or control of another person’s vehicle using force, violence, intimidation, or threats. Often, people confuse auto theft with carjacking. The difference is that when someone commits auto theft, they are stealing someone else’s vehicle, typically when no one is around, and thus they don’t use force or violence to obtain possession. As carjacking can involve force, intimidation, and threatening someone’s life, it is a much more serious offense than auto theft, and those charged with carjacking can face years or even life in prison.
In Maryland, if an individual is charged with a carjacking offense, they can face imprisonment for up to 30 years. The initial prison sentence will depend on the individual situation and how exactly the carjacking occurred. For example, if a dangerous weapon was used or if the threat was against a pregnant individual, the offender will likely face more time in prison. Prior convictions also play a part in the length of a carjacking offender’s sentencing.
According to Maryland Statutes on Criminal Law, Section 14-101 on Mandatory Sentences for Crimes of Violence, charges for carjacking offenses with prior convictions are as follows:
- On conviction for a second crime of violence, an individual may face no less than 10 years in prison.
- On conviction for a third crime of violence, an individual may face no less than 25 years in prison.
- On conviction for a fourth crime of violence, an individual who has served three separate terms of imprisonment as a result of three separate convictions of any crime of violence shall be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Hiring a defense lawyer when you are facing a carjacking charge can potentially help mitigate your charges and years of imprisonment. Several factors can play a part in the penalties an offender receives, such as if weapons were involved, how exactly the carjacking occurred, who the offense was committed against, and the mental or physical state of the offender.
For example, if the person who committed the carjacking was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, their defense attorney could suggest they receive treatment first. After receiving the help they need for their addiction, they could then receive a lighter sentence or probation upon returning to court for their trial.
If you face criminal charges for carjacking, an experienced attorney can help guide you through the legal process, providing you counsel and advocating for your rights. The charges and penalties an individual faces for carjacking can be quite severe, but an attorney can work to mitigate those penalties and lighten your sentence or probation.
At Zirkin and Schmerling Law, we understand how scary facing criminal charges can be. Our team of experts can help you by advocating for your rights, and doing whatever we can to mitigate your Maryland carjacking penalties.
Contact us or call us at 410-753-4611 to set up an appointment with one of our criminal attorneys today.