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Published on 10/23/2023, 2:14:00 PM

Unauthorized Removal of Property vs Motor Vehicle Theft - How are they Different?

In criminal law, different crimes have different names and details, and these differences matter a lot. They can affect what charges are brought against someone, how lawyers defend them, and the punishments if found guilty. Today, we're looking at two often mixed-up terms in Maryland law: Unauthorized Removal of Property and Motor Vehicle Theft. It's important for everyone, not just lawyers, to understand what makes these two crimes different.

At FrizWoods LLC, we pride ourselves on not only representing our clients vigorously but also educating the public on essential legal matters. We believe an informed citizenry is the cornerstone of justice.

Defining the Terms

Unauthorized Removal of Property

According to the Maryland Statutes, Title 7, Subtitle 2, Section 7-203, unauthorized removal of property occurs when a person knowingly and willfully takes and carries away or uses another person's property without the owner's permission.

This includes vehicles and motor vehicles. A conviction under this section could lead to a misdemeanor charge, with penalties ranging from 6 months to 4 years imprisonment, a fine between $50 to $100, or both. Furthermore, the accused is mandated to restore the property taken or pay the full value to the owner if restoration is impossible.

Motor Vehicle Theft

On the other hand, Motor Vehicle Theft, under Title 7, Subtitle 1, Section 7-105 of the Maryland Statutes, is when a person knowingly and willfully takes a motor vehicle out of the owner's lawful custody, control, or use without the owner's consent. This offense is treated as a felony, carrying a penalty of up to 5 years imprisonment, a fine up to $5,000, or both. The accused is also required to restore the motor vehicle or pay the full value to the owner if restoration is not possible.

Key Differences

The primary differences between Unauthorized Removal of Property and Motor Vehicle Theft lie in the intent behind the actions and the severity of the charges. Motor Vehicle Theft is considered more severe due to its felony status, compared to the misdemeanor status of Unauthorized Removal of Property. The penalties for Motor Vehicle Theft are also more severe, reflecting the gravity of the offense.

Hypothetical Scenarios

To further elucidate these distinctions, let's consider two hypothetical scenarios involving a driver (John) and a passenger (Sarah) in a stolen vehicle situation:

John's Scenario: Motor Vehicle Theft & Unauthorized Removal of Property

John, knowingly and without the owner's consent, takes a car parked outside a convenience store and drives away. He intended to sell the car to a local chop shop. In this case, John is guilty of Motor Vehicle Theft, as his actions were deliberate, and he intended to deprive the owner of the vehicle permanently.

Sarah's Scenario: Unauthorized Removal of Property

Sarah, on the other hand, borrows her friend's car to run some errands, with the friend's consent. However, her friend later demands the car back and Sarah doesn't comply.

Sarah continues to use the car for the day before returning it to her friend. Here, Sarah could be charged with Unauthorized Removal of Property. Though she initially had permission to use the car, she continued using the car even after it was demanded to be returned.

Legal Implications and Defense Strategies

The legal landscape surrounding these offenses is fraught with challenges. At FrizWoods LLC, our seasoned attorneys are adept at unraveling such complexities, ensuring our clients are well-informed and vigorously defended. We meticulously analyze every facet of the case, from the circumstances surrounding the alleged offense to the legitimacy of the charges, to develop a robust defense strategy tailored to each client's unique situation.

For instance, in John's case, proving lack of intent or disputing the ownership status of the vehicle could form the basis of his defense. In Sarah's case, the knowledge and intent behind her actions, along with the initial permission, albeit from the wrong individual, could significantly affect the charges and penalties she might face.

If I'm driving a striker, what charges could I get?

If you're caught driving a stolen car, you could receive both Motor Vehicle Theft and Unauthorized Use charges under Maryland law. If the vehicle was obviously stolen, or if you try and run from the cops, you may only make your case worse.

Why Legal Representation is Crucial

Both scenarios underscore the nuances and intricacies inherent in Maryland's theft and unauthorized use laws. The legal maze surrounding these offenses necessitates expert legal guidance. Our attorneys at FrizWoods LLC are well-versed in Maryland's criminal law, providing the legal acumen necessary to navigate these complex charges.

Concluding Remarks

Understanding the differences between Unauthorized Removal of Property and Motor Vehicle Theft is imperative. The hypothetical scenarios of John and Sarah illustrate the varying legal implications based on one's actions and knowledge surrounding stolen property. If you find yourself entangled in similar legal predicaments, seeking professional legal assistance is paramount. Our team at FrizWoods LLC is at your beck and call, ready to provide the legal expertise necessary to navigate these murky waters.

Feel free to reach out to us for a comprehensive consultation on your case. Your peace of mind and legal security are our priority. Also, you can check our reviews to see real-life testimonials from individuals we have represented.