Larceny from a Motor Vehicle Defense Attorneys in Michigan

Michigan provides for stiff penalties for stealing items from cars or stealing parts of cars. If you face this charge or believe you are under investigation, you should speak with a highly qualified criminal defense expert as soon as possible.

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The law covers more than cars…

It is not only illegal to take an entire motor vehicle; it, understandably, is also illegal to take things off or out of motor vehicles without permission of the owner. In addition to cars, motor vehicles include house trailers, trailers, and semi-truck trailers. The law specifically also points to wheels, tires, airbags, catalytic converters, radios, stereos, clock, telephones, computers, or other electronic devices in or on any motor vehicle as items it is illegal to remove. Taking or attempting to take any of these things is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

Penalties for Larceny from a Motor Vehicle

For anything other than wheels, tires, airbags, catalytic converters, and electronic devices, the possible penalties change based on the value of the thing or things taken.

  • Value of stolen property is less than $200.00: 93-day misdemeanor, 2 years of probation, and a $500.00 fine or 3 times the value of the property, whichever is greater.
  • Value of stolen property is between $200.00 and $1,000.00: 1-year misdemeanor, 2 years of probation, and a $2,000.00 fine or 3 times the value of the property, whichever is greater.
  • Value of stolen property is between $1,000.00 and $20,000.00: 5-year felony, 5 years of probation, and a fine of $10,000.00 or 3 times the value of the property, whichever is greater.
  • Value of stolen property is greater than $20,000.00: 10-year felony, 5 years of probation, and a $15,000.00 fine, or 3 times the value of the property, whichever is greater.

A lesser property value case can be enhanced to a higher-level charge if the defendant has 1 or more prior convictions for larceny from a motor vehicle. Furthermore, if the defendant is alleged to have committed other larcenies from motor vehicles over a 12-month period, the property values may be aggregated (added together) to determine the possible penalty level.

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Damage Caused During a Larceny from a Motor Vehicle

Anyone who breaks, tears, cuts, or otherwise damages any part of the motor vehicle, house trailer, trailer, or semitrailer is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years or a fine of not more than $10,000.00, or both, regardless of the value of the property. The damage does not have to be intentional. Any damage that is caused during the commission of a Larceny from a Motor Vehicle is enough.

Chops Shops – Chop Shop charges are similar to larceny from a motor vehicle, but it is not the same. Chop Shop laws are concerned with locations (buildings or properties) where stolen vehicles and vehicle parts are bought, sold, or remarked to change the vehicle number so that the fact they are stolen is concealed. A person who has stolen a part off of a vehicle may very well try to sell it to a chop shop.

Defenses to Larceny from a Motor Vehicle

Defenses depend to a large degree on what evidence allegedly exists. An astute and experienced criminal defense attorney will examine the evidence and determine what might be advanced as a defense. Fair defenses might include that the property was stolen by someone else, and the defendant possessed it, not knowing it was stolen. A defense can also be possible based on an argument that the value placed on the property by the prosecutor is unfairly inflated. If this argument is successful, it could knock down the charge to a lower level. If the property was lawfully given to the defendant and the owner of the car is lying regarding the theft, the defendant is innocent and deserves to have all charges dismissed.  Possible defenses include:

  • Claim of Right
  • Accident or Mistake
  • Mistaken Identity
  • Duress or Necessity
  • Value Over Inflated
  • Untruthful Claim of Damage
  • Actual Innocence

If the defendant was caught “red-handed” in the process of stealing from a motor vehicle, and the owner wants to prosecute, it may be difficult to get the case completely dismissed and thrown out of court. Even so, a top-rated criminal defense lawyer can still help the client by negotiating a reduction in the charges, a delayed sentence, or a lenient sentence. There are some cases where the lawyer must persuasively convince a judge that his client needs help, not punishment.

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Defense Attorneys Handling Larceny from a Motor Vehicle Charges

The highly reputable, compassionate, and astute attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have decades of experience successfully defending automobile theft cases and larceny from motor vehicle charges. These charges can be dismissed and thrown out of court, but only if defended intelligently, aggressively, and zealously. No matter how bad the situation may appear, there is always something we can do to help. We have a well-deserved reputation for providing the highest quality defense and aggressive representation while showing empathy and individualized care for each client.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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