Auto Theft

Michigan Car Theft Lawyer


Michigan Auto Theft Charges

Auto theft is a very serious problem in the Detroit area. The state’s response has been to enact car theft laws with increasingly harsher penalties. An auto theft related conviction can have life-altering consequences including jail, fines and driver’s license suspension. Moreover, a theft-related conviction on your record can have serious long-term consequences for future job prospects. With penalties this severe, you need an experienced auto theft defense attorney to fight the charges against you. Jeffrey Buehner is a former auto theft unit prosecutor, so he knows how to identify weaknesses in an auto theft case and how to aggressively defend against these charges.

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Michigan Unlawfully Driving Away an Automobile (UDAA)

Taking possession of and driving away a motor vehicle belonging to another, without authority, is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Even assisting in or being a party to the taking of a motor vehicle as an accomplice, subjects you to a potential felony UDAA charge under Michigan law. To prove UDAA, the prosecution must show:

  • First, that the vehicle belonged to someone else.
  • Second, that the defendant took possession of the vehicle and [drove / took] it away.
  • Third, that these acts were both done [without authority / without the owner’s permission].
  • 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.
  • Additionally, 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.

Use of an Automobile Without Authority and Without Intent to Steal

Taking or using a vehicle without authority – even if you had no intent to steal– can lead to a misdemeanor charge of use of a motor vehicle without authority but without intent to steal. This misdemeanor offense is punishable by up to 2 years in prison or a fine of up to $1,500.00. As with UDAA, even assisting or being a party to the taking can lead to being charged. To prove this charge, the prosecutor must show:

  • First, that the vehicle belonged to someone else.
  • Second, that the defendant used the vehicle.
  • Third, that the defendant did this without authority.
  • Fourth, that the defendant intended to use the vehicle, knowing that [he / she] did not have the authority to do so.
  • 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.

What’s the Difference Between UDAA and Unlawful Use of an Automobile?

The difference between these two offenses is this: to be guilty of unlawfully driving away a vehicle, the defendant must have taken possession of the vehicle unlawfully in the first place. Unlawful use of a vehicle, on the other hand, is a lesser offense that applies if the defendant got possession of the vehicle lawfully in the first place but then used it in a way [he / she] knew was unauthorized.


Buying, Possessing or Concealing a Stolen Vehicle

The act of stealing an automobile can obviously result in a criminal charge, but being caught with a stolen motor vehicle, even where there is no proof that you actually stole the motor vehicle, can lead to felony charges. Under Michigan law, buying, receiving, possessing, concealing, or aiding in the concealment of a stolen motor vehicle knowing, or having reason to know or reason to believe, that the motor vehicle is stolen, embezzled, or converted is a felony. Depending upon prior convictions, this charge can range from a felony punishable by up to 5 or 10 years in prison. Frequently, the key to effectively defending these cases is attacking the evidence allegedly showing that the defendant had knowledge that the property was stolen. This type of defense is most effective when no statement has been made by the Defendant, so it is vitally important that you have an experienced auto theft lawyer like Jeffrey Buehner defending your case as early as possible.


Michigan Carjacking Defense Lawyers

Carjacking is among the most serious felony charges. Michigan law provides that carjacking occurs when a person who in the course of committing a larceny of a motor vehicle uses force or violence or the threat of force or violence, or who puts in fear any operator, passenger, or person in lawful possession of the motor vehicle, or any person lawfully attempting to recover the motor vehicle. Carjacking is a felony punishable by imprisonment for life or for any term of years. Whether you are being investigated for carjacking, have been arrested or are currently charged with carjacking, you want the best possible defense available. Put Jeffrey Buehner’s experience as a former Auto Theft prosecutor and decades of auto theft defense to work for you.


Stealing Property from an Automobile

Stealing or unlawfully removing or taking any wheel, tire, air bag, catalytic converter, radio, stereo, clock, telephone, computer, or other electronic device from any motor vehicle, house trailer, trailer, or semitrailer is a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to five years, a fine of not more than $10,000.00, or both.

A person who enters or breaks into a motor vehicle, house trailer, trailer, or semitrailer to steal or unlawfully remove property from can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony depending upon the value of the items take, prior convictions and damage done to the vehicle.


Former Michigan Auto Theft Prosecutor

Auto theft related crime is serious business, so it is important that you have an aggressive, experienced Michigan auto theft attorney defending you. If you are being investigated, don’t talk with the police without calling us first. If you are being investigated or are currently charged with an auto theft crime, put the experience of the lawyers at Jeffrey Buehner, PLLC to work for you. Call (248) 865-9640 for a free consultation or simply fill out our contact form.