In Michigan, a person can be found guilty of the crime of carjacking if the prosecutor can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed larceny of a motor vehicle. Meaning, the prosecutor has to prove your stole the car.
MCL 750.529a To do that the prosecutor must prove; (1) the person took the motor vehicle from another person; (2) the driver, a passenger or other person in lawful possession of the motor vehicle was present during the theft; and (3) the defendant gained possession of the motor vehicle through force or violence, the threat of force or violence, or putting fear in the driver, passenger, or other person in lawful possession of the motor vehicle. Lawful possession means the person was permitted by the owner to use and have access to the vehicle.
In order to meet the element of possession, the complaining witness does not have to be separate from the motor vehicle during the carjacking. The complaining witness could be the person driving the car because of force or violence, threat of force or violence, or by fear, or a passenger of the vehicle at the time of the alleged theft.
Carjacking does not require the defendant to intend to deprive the person permanently of the motor vehicle. It could merely be a short period of time, but if you had permission to borrow the car there is no crime.
The law also does not require the defendant to have used a weapon. Words or actions alone are sufficient if they indicate a threat of force.
The law requires that the prosecutor prove the defendant intend to commit the act of carjacking using force or violence, threat of force, or using fear to take the motor vehicle from someone in lawful possession.
The defendant can be charged with a separate crime of assault with intent to rob or steal while armed if the defendant is armed with a dangerous weapon or anything used to make the driver, passenger, or person in lawful possession to believe the item is in fact a dangerous weapon, and the defendant assaults the driver, passenger, or person is possession with the intent to rob and steal. This is a felony charge separate from that of carjacking that carries a life sentence in prison or a term of years.
Carjacking is a felony in the state of Michigan carrying a penalty of life in prison or for any term of years. A felony means that the crime carries a minimum sentence of one year in prison.
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If you had permission to use the vehicle, or you thought the vehicle was yours by mistake the charge of carjacking and larceny or a motor vehicle should be dismissed or result in a not guilty.
If you have been charged with carjacking or another crime, contact Aaron J. Boria, PLLC. Aaron Boria is a criminal defense attorney in Southeast Michigan that will fight for your rights. Call today for a free consultation (734) 453-7806.