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Penalties and defense options for motor vehicle theft

Maryland Criminal Code Section 7-105 covers motor vehicle thefts. It sets the penalties for a conviction at up to five years in prison. If the vehicle is damaged or totaled, the law says that the defendant must pay the value of the car or the restoration cost to the owner. If you think about this, you can imagine how expensive this can become.

For a person who is facing this charge, setting a defense strategy is a priority. There are a few that might be possible. You have to consider the circumstances of the case to determine which ones might work for your case.

To be convicted, you have to have custody, use or control of the vehicle without the rightful owner's consent. There are many forms of consent, so you might be able to use this as a defense if you did have permission -- even if it wasn't written. For example, if someone verbally told you that you could borrow their car.

You might also be able to use this defense if someone had the car and permitted you to use it even if they weren't on the title. For example, you might have a friend who tells you can use her vehicle, but the car is actually in her mother's name. In this case, the friend's permission is sufficient if she is the one who has lawful possession of it.

Other defense strategies might also be appropriate, so make sure you evaluate all options before deciding on one. You don't need to waste time. This is a serious felony charge that deserves your full attention.

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