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Maryland Carjacking Penalties

Carjacking a serious offense that can have a major impact on an individual’s life. Resultant Maryland carjacking penalties are equally serious. A carjacking charge could result in a felony conviction which would entail incarceration and would be reflected on an individual’s record making it important that a capable carjacking defense lawyer is contacted to assist in mitigating the damage and in building a strong defense.

Consequences of Carjacking Charges

If the defendant is convicted of carjacking, they will be convicted of a felony which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years. This offense carries a harsher sentence than even a robbery with a deadly weapon. It is quite possible that the defendant would serve multiple sentences, consecutive sentences, depending on what else he had been charged with.

The carjacking statute specifically states that the sentence for the carjacking can be consecutive to the sentence for any other crime that is related to it. If there is an included conviction for theft, robbery, burglary, assault, or any other potential conviction, that could lead to a potential consecutive sentence.

Maximum Penalties For Conviction

The maximum Maryland carjacking penalties for carjacking is 30 years. In addition to receiving a prison sentence for a carjacking, the defendant may also get consecutive sentences for any of the underlying offenses. The penalty, oftentimes, depends on the defendant’s prior record.

If the defendant has a prior record with any other crime of violence, they should be prepared for the judge to sentence them more harshly. In Maryland, there is a whole statute that deals with mandatory sentences for crimes of violence which include carjacking and armed carjacking.

For example, if somebody has a previous conviction for a crime of violence and is convicted of carjacking, it is possible they could receive a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years. This means a day-per-day sentence with no parole; doing the full 10 years. If it is a third conviction for a crime of violence, then it is a mandatory 25-year sentence with no option for parole.

Impact of Prior Convictions on Carjacking Charges

If someone has a prior conviction for a crime of violence, their current sentencing can be enhanced. There is a statute in Maryland, Criminal Law Sec. 14-101, and that law clarifies how prior convictions for crimes of violence can enhance the sentence for the newest conviction; carjacking and armed carjacking are both considered crimes of violence. If the person has a prior conviction for a crime of violence, then potentially their sentence could include a 10-year sentence without parole.

If the defendant is sentenced on a carjacking charge and receives a 30-year sentence, suspend all but 15 years. The court can also mandate that the first 10 years of that 15-year sentence be day-per–day, without parole, for 10 years. And, the more previous convictions the person has, it gets worse. If it is a third conviction for a crime of violence, the defendant will be facing a sentence of no less than 25 years, day-per–day, and no parole. If it is their fourth conviction for a crime of violence, they can be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Mitigating Factors

Along those same lines, the defense lawyer can negotiate probation or a lesser sentence by providing important mitigation for a judge to hear in sentencing. For example, if the crime was really fueled by addiction issues, that is important for a judge to know. If that was the case, it would be recommended by defense counsel that the defendant goes into treatment before trial and thereby impress the court, that those issues were addressed even prior to coming to court.

If the defendant has some mental health issues, has been diagnosed but receives no treatment, it would be recommended by his defense attorney to get into treatment. If the defendant has not been properly diagnosed, he would be encouraged by his attorney to get a full evaluation. These decisions really depend on the defendant’s financial options and health insurance. Some testing and treatment may be carried out by the local Health Department and whatever resources they have to give the defendant.

If the defendant has the means, they may receive inpatient treatment. These issues should all be addressed because it will assist the defendant when the judge decides an appropriate sentence, the appropriate length of probation, and appropriate conditions of probation.

Importance of an Attorney

An adept lawyer can work to mitigate the Maryland carjacking penalties you may face. The defense attorney will review all of the evidence of the case and make a determination that is in the defendant’s best interest for them to negotiate a plea. Sometimes the lawyer can articulate to the prosecution where the issue is, and hopefully, a reasonable prosecutor on the other side will acknowledge that, and this can lead to conversations about having the defendant plead to a lesser offense.

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