If you are charged with Unlawful Use of a Motor vehicle 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.
Unlawful Use of a Vehicle. is a class H felony that carries up to 2 years in prison (24 months). If you are arrested and charged with Unlawful Use of a Motor vehicle, 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 Use of a Motor vehicle is detailed in the Michigan compiled laws, MCL 750.414. The provisions of MCL 750.414 state:
Any person who takes or uses without authority any motor vehicle without intent to steal the same, or who is a party to such unauthorized taking or using, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or a fine of not more than $1,500.00. However, in case of a first offense, the court may reduce the punishment to imprisonment for not more than 3 months or a fine of not more than $500.00. However, this section does not apply to any person or persons employed by the owner of said motor vehicle or anyone else, who, by the nature of his or her employment, has the charge of or the authority to drive said motor vehicle if said motor vehicle is driven or used without the owner's knowledge or consent.
Unlawful Use of a Motor vehicle under Michigan sentencing guidelines is scored under crimes against property (Property). Under the guidelines, a person who is convicted of Unlawful Use of a Vehicle. with no prior record and no aggravating factors looks to the low end of the guidelines which call for up to 1 months. With no prior criminal record but horrible facts, the defendant can face 6 months. With a terrible criminal record and terrible facts, the accused can be looking at 17* months under the guidelines.
The jury instructions set forth the following elements for Unlawful Use of a Vehicle. that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by the prosecuting attorney:
M Crim JI 24.2 Use of an Automobile Without Authority and Without Intent to Steal
(1) [The defendant is charged with the crime of / You may also consider the lesser charge of] using a motor vehicle without authority. 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 used the vehicle.
(4) Third, that the defendant did this without authority.
(5) Fourth, that the defendant intended to use the vehicle, knowing that [he / she] did not have the authority to do so.
[(6) Anyone who assists in using a vehicle is also guilty of this crime if (he / she) gave the assistance knowing that the person who was taking or using it did not have the authority to do so.]
I can't emphasize enough how important it is to focus on the jury instructions while preparing a defense to the offense of Unlawful Use of a Motor vehicle. While there are a number of defenses to Unlawful Use of a Vehicle. that we can explore during a consultation, the elements contained in M Crim JI 24.2 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.