Carjacking, Other Serious Charges for Wilmington, DE Man
A Wilmington, Delaware man faces multiple charges after stealing a car and driving on the wrong side of the road in an incident that resulted in the deaths of two people. Online news source Delaware Online reported on December 27, 2017 that the man had carjacked the vehicle earlier in the day and there was already a warrant on that count. He was apprehended later the same evening when he plowed into the car as the victims were leaving the Delaware Park Casino. The man had been driving at a high rate of speed in the oncoming traffic lane before the head-on collision. Aside from two serious counts for Second Degree Vehicular Homicide, the carjacking charges are also significant crimes. If you are facing similar allegations, it is important to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney in Delaware to assist with your case.
Carjacking in the Second Degree
When a person intentionally and illegally takes control of a vehicle from another person, without permission and through coercion or duress, this carjacking offense is a Class E Felony. However, Carjacking in the Second Degree may be a Class D Felony if the individual:
- Engages in reckless conduct or actions that create a risk of death or serious harm to someone;
- Forces an occupant to leave the vehicle; OR,
- Operations the vehicle in a reckless manner.
A Class D Felony carries a potential prison sentence of up to eight years, while a Class E Felony conviction may lead to incarceration up to five years.
Carjacking in the First Degree
More serious carjacking offenses elevate the crime to Carjacking in the First Degree, such as where the offender:
- Commits a Class D Felony or higher while in possession of the vehicle;
- Uses the vehicle in connection with a violation of Delaware laws on driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol; OR,
- Engages in drug crimes, such as trafficking of a controlled substance, while in possession of the vehicle.
Where any of these circumstances is present, the Carjacking in the First Degree is a Class C Felony punishable by a maximum of 15 years in jail. However, the crime is a Class B Felony where the individual:
- Displays a weapon or threatens use of a weapon while in possession or taking control over the car;
- Actually causes physical injury to another person during commission of the carjacking offense; OR,
- Takes control of the vehicle where an occupant is 62 years or older, or 14 years of age or younger.
A conviction under any of these circumstances is a Class B Felony, where the sentence may include up to 25 years imprisonment.
Additional Details Under Delaware Law on Carjacking
A few factors are worthy of note in carjacking crimes:
- You cannot claim as a defense that you did not actually drive the vehicle while committing the crime of carjacking;
- There is no defense on the grounds that you did not know the age of vehicle occupants; and,
- It is not a defense to claim that you did not intend to permanently deprive the rightful owner of the vehicle.
Contact a Delaware Criminal Defense Attorney Today
For more information on defending against carjacking or other crimes, please contact Attorney Michael W. Modica in Wilmington, DE to set up a consultation.