If you are charged with Unlawful Driving Away an Automobile (UDAA) in Livonia, Michigan, you need the help of an experienced Livonia criminal defense attorney. I can provide you with nearly 20 years of experience and a willingness to fight and take cases to trial.
Unlawfully Drive Away Automobile (UDAA) is a class E felony that carries up to 5 years in prison (60 months). If you are arrested and charged with Unlawful Driving Away an Automobile (UDAA), your first court appearance will be an arraignment in the 16th District Court in Livonia, Michigan. Learn more about an arraignment now. At the arraignment, your case will be scheduled for a probable cause conference and a preliminary examination. Bond will also be addressed at the arraignment. The probable cause conference must be scheduled within 7 to 14 days of the arraignment with the preliminary examination scheduled within 5 to 7 days after the probable cause conference.
Following the preliminary examination, further proceedings are held in the Wayne County Circuit Court at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in downtown Detroit. If there is virtually any evidence supporting the prosecutor's case, it is extremely likely that the matter will be bound over in the district court. Nonetheless, I almost always challenge cases at the preliminary examination because it is the best opportunity that the defense is presented for challenging the evidence and developing the facts that will support defenses in the circuit court. DO NOT WAIVE THE PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION WITHOUT MAKING AN INFORMED DECISION.
The charge of Unlawful Driving Away an Automobile (UDAA) is detailed in the Michigan compiled laws, MCL 750.413. The provisions of MCL 750.413 state:
Taking possession of and driving away a motor vehicle-Any person who shall, wilfully and without authority, take possession of and drive or take away, and any person who shall assist in or be a party to such taking possession, driving or taking away of any motor vehicle, belonging to another, shall be guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years.
Unlawful Driving Away an Automobile (UDAA) under Michigan sentencing guidelines is scored under crimes against property (Property). Under the guidelines, a person who is convicted of Unlawfully Drive Away Automobile (UDAA) with no prior record and no aggravating factors looks to the low end of the guidelines which call for up to 3 months. With no prior criminal record but horrible facts, the defendant can face 17* months. With a terrible criminal record and terrible facts, the accused can be looking at 38 months under the guidelines.
The jury instructions set forth the following elements for Unlawfully Drive Away Automobile (UDAA) that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by the prosecuting attorney:
M Crim JI 24.1 Unlawfully Driving Away an Automobile
(1) The defendant is charged with the crime of unlawfully driving away a motor vehicle. To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
(2) First, that the vehicle belonged to someone else.
(3) Second, that the defendant took possession of the vehicle and [drove / took] it away.
(4) Third, that these acts were both done [without authority / without the owner's permission].
(5) Fourth, that the defendant intended to take possession of the vehicle and [drive / take] it away. It does not matter whether the defendant intended to keep the vehicle.
[(6) Anyone who assists in taking possession of a vehicle or assists in driving or taking away a vehicle knowing that the vehicle was unlawfully possessed is also guilty of this crime if the assistance was given with the intention of helping another commit this crime.]
I can't emphasize enough how important it is to focus on the jury instructions while preparing a defense to the offense of Unlawful Driving Away an Automobile (UDAA). While there are a number of defenses to Unlawfully Drive Away Automobile (UDAA) that we can explore during a consultation, the elements contained in M Crim JI 24.1 provide a roadmap for defending the case. This is true in almost every single case, and really great defense attorneys focus early on these jury instructions.
As a cautionary note, you might be completely innocent but still face criminal charges. Even worse, you might be denied bail, forced to spend months in jail before you are vindicated. I have seen many cases where a truly innocent client is baffled, angry and scared, completely unable to understand why police and prosecutors are gunning to get a conviction. So long as probable cause is established at the preliminary examination, then the matter will be bound over for trial in the 3rd Circuit Court for the County of Wayne and further proceedings will be held in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in downtown Detroit. This is why it is so important that you contact an experienced Livonia criminal defense attorney to help you defend against criminal charges in the 16th District Court.
*represents an aberration under the guidelines that might result in county jail time or violate the 2/3rd maximum minimum rules under the guidelines, which is something that must be discussed with your attorney.