Although it is often trivialized by movies and video games, stealing a motor vehicle is a serious criminal offense. In Connecticut, “carjacking” or theft of an automobile is punishable by imprisonment, heavy fees, and other grave consequences. If you or a loved one has been accused of stealing a car, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. A skilled attorney will help you understand the charges laid against you and how best to fight them.
Carjacking and Auto Theft Laws in Connecticut
Carjacking is a colloquial term used to describe the theft of a vehicle. There is no law in Connecticut specifically addressing carjacking; rather, theft of a motor vehicle will fall under the laws prohibiting larceny or robbery depending on the circumstances of the alleged crime. Robbery refers to the forcible taking of property away from the rightful owner, while larceny describes theft that takes place without the property owner’s immediate knowledge. If you allegedly stole a vehicle directly from an individual through the use of force or the threat of force, the crime will likely be classified as a robbery. If the owner or driver was not present at the time of the alleged offense, the crime will likely be classified as larceny. A robbery or larceny conviction can have profound consequences on your life. You may face considerable jail time, steep fees, and other criminal consequences. Having a theft-related conviction on your record can also reduce your employment opportunities, prevent you from finding quality housing, or even impact child custody matters.
What to Do During a Robbery or Larceny Arrest
If you have been arrested for auto theft, you should know that you have certain rights. Criminal defendants have the right to avoid self-incrimination, meaning that you do not have to answer police questioning or submit to interrogations. You have the right to stay silent, and one of the best things you can do to increase your chances of avoiding a conviction is to decline police questioning until your lawyer is present. Your lawyer will ensure that you are not coerced or tricked into incriminating yourself. Your lawyer can also help you build a strong defense against the charges you are facing.