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When a person contacts a Michigan theft lawyer for their initial consultation following a carjacking case, they will typically be asked for information regarding their background, and the underlying facts and circumstances of the crime they are charged with.
In a carjacking case, the accused person should be prepared to explain to their attorney exactly where the carjacking is alleged to have occurred, where they were when they were first handpicked by the police, whether they were inside the car in question, and any statements they may have made to the police.
The initial consultation will often include an interview to discern as much about the client's background and the facts of the case as possible. Following the interview, a Michigan carjacking lawyer can help their client understand what to expect as the case moves through the criminal justice system, and explain to them what the potential consequences might be if that person is convicted.Defining the Charge
An individual commits carjacking when they take a person's car from them when they are still in it. This often requires some degree of force or threat of violence, so carjacking charges are very serious. The severity of such a crime should only be defended using a carjacking attorney in Michigan.
When an individual is charged with the offense of carjacking, the prosecutor must first prove that the individual used violence or a threat of violence, or intentionally put in fear another person. Second, the prosecution must prove that they did so while committing larceny of the victim's motor vehicle, and that their intent was to deprive that person of their vehicle permanently.
The prosecution must also prove that the owner of the vehicle was either in the operator or passenger's seat of the car, and they were in lawful possession of it. To help defend against such an allegation, an individual should consult with a carjacking attorney in Michigan as soon as possible.Differences Between Auto Theft and Carjacking
In Michigan, auto theft is classified as unlawfully driving away in an auto. If the alleged victim is parked in their driveway and is sleeping in their bed and someone comes and takes their car, it would not be considered carjacking.
However, if that person was getting ready to leave their home while still inside their car and someone approached with a gun and threw that person out of their car, the police would consider that carjacking. The key difference between auto theft and carjacking is that element of force. For a carjacking to occur, the alleged victim must be in or near their car, and the person who is taking their car must use violence or force to try to do it.
Further, a joyriding charge does not involve an intent to permanently deprive the alleged victim of their automobile. If a person gets into someone's car and drives it around the block or the neighborhood and then returns it, the court would consider that joyriding. In contrast, if that person has demonstrated an intent to permanently deprive the owner of the car, carjacking charges might result. Such charges can be combatted with the use of a Michigan carjacking attorney.How Carjacking Occurs
Usually, carjacking happens when a person is stopped in their vehicle. They may be stopped at an intersection, getting gas, or have stopped at a convenience store. They may come back to find that a person has a gun or a knife, or they are using their fists and they threaten that if a person does not give them the car they are going to hurt them.
Also, a person may find themselves "boxed in" so that they can no longer move their car, after which it is taken from them by force. They throw a person out of the car or in some other way separate a person from the car before leaving the scene with it. An experienced Michigan carjacking lawyer can help an individual understand the specific elements of the charge.