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Carjacking Charges in Maryland: What You Need to Know

man carjacking in maryland

Carjacking is a terrifying crime that involves stealing a vehicle from its owner by use of force or intimidation. It’s a serious offense with severe legal consequences. Like many states, carjacking charges in Maryland have been implemented to protect individuals and punish offenders.

Understanding these laws is essential for drivers and law enforcement agencies to ensure safe communities and deter potential criminals. This article will delve into carjacking laws in Maryland and explore the consequences for those who violate them.

What Constitutes Carjacking in Maryland?

Carjacking is defined as the violent theft of a motor vehicle from its driver or passenger. In Maryland, the crime of carjacking is addressed in Maryland Criminal Law § 3-405. According to this statute, carjacking occurs when someone:

  1. Unlawfully takes or attempts to take a motor vehicle from a person or the presence of another by force, violence, intimidation, or threat of force or violence.
  2. Uses or threatens to use a weapon or inflicts bodily injury upon any person in the course of committing the offense.

This definition encompasses a broad range of actions, from physically harming the driver to brandishing a weapon or using verbal threats to coerce them into surrendering their vehicle.

Carjacking vs Auto Theft

Auto theft, which isn’t carjacking, occurs when a person takes another person’s vehicle without anyone around. An example of auto theft would be an individual taking a vehicle parked in the owner’s driveway in the middle of the night. No one is around, so no force is used when taking possession of the vehicle.

The difference between carjacking and auto theft is that in carjacking, the vehicle is taken from the alleged victim by force. In auto theft, the car is taken with the intent to deprive the owner of the vehicle permanently, but no one is threatened when the vehicle is taken.

Carjacking vs Joyriding

In joyriding cases, the defendant takes someone else’s car to ride around in it, but they intend to return the vehicle where they found it, often hoping the owner doesn’t realize the vehicle was missing. The main difference between carjacking and joyriding is if the vehicle is taken forcefully. If the vehicle was taken forcefully, even if the defendant intended to return the vehicle, they could be charged with carjacking.

Penalties for Carjacking in Maryland

Carjacking is a felony in Maryland, and individuals charged with carjacking face up to thirty years in prison. The prison sentence depends on the situation and how the carjacking occurred.

For example, if the defendant used a dangerous weapon or threatened a pregnant woman, they will likely face more prison time. The defendant’s criminal history will also play a role in their sentencing.

Penalties for carjacking with prior convictions in Maryland are laid out in Maryland Criminal Law §14-101 and are as follows:

  • Second Violent Crime Conviction — No less than ten years in prison.
  • Third Violent Crime Conviction — No less than twenty-five years in prison.
  • Fourth Violent Crime Conviction — When someone has served three separate prison sentences resulting from three separate violent crime charges, they face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Carjacking charges are often accompanied by related crimes such as robbery, theft, assault, and burglary. If the defendant is convicted of crimes in addition to carjacking, the sentence for the carjacking can be consecutive to the sentence for other crimes the defendant has been convicted of.

How an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

An experienced criminal defense attorney will review the evidence against you, identify any possible errors or violations of your rights, and develop a defense strategy tailored to the specific circumstances of your case. They can also work with the prosecution to negotiate a plea deal or advocate for reduced charges or penalties.

Your criminal defense attorney will support you and offer guidance and reassurance throughout the process. By leveraging their knowledge and advocacy skills, your attorney can significantly impact the outcome of your carjacking case, potentially securing an acquittal or mitigating the severity of penalties you face with a conviction.

Are You Facing Carjacking Charges in Maryland? Turn to Jeremy Widder Law

Under Maryland law, carjacking is a serious crime with severe consequences. The laws are designed to ensure public safety and justice for victims. If you or someone you love is facing criminal charges for carjacking, an experienced criminal defense attorney is essential to guide you through the legal process and ensure your rights are protected.

At Jeremy Widder Law, we will be your advocate. We have represented hundreds of clients charged with a variety of offenses. Our firm’s primary focus is criminal defense, so you can rest assured knowing you are receiving top-notch legal representation backed by years of experience.

Contact us today for a consultation.


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