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Virginia Beach car theft defendant faces double life-plus term

A charge of carjacking is applied when violence or a threat of violence is introduced during the theft of a vehicle. Violent crimes carry the highest penalties for Newport News defendants. A loss of freedom is unavoidable following a conviction.

A 34-year-old man, recently arrested in Virginia Beach, faces an uphill legal fight. The man is accused of wounding a woman during a carjacking and then leading police on a chase involving considerable personal and property damage. Robbery, eluding, malicious wounding and hit-and-run were added to the car theft charge, plus nine felonies attached to previous alleged crimes.

The alleged victim said she was getting out of her Honda CR-V after arriving at work, when she was confronted by a man holding a knife. The man threatened to kill the woman unless she turned over the keys to the SUV. The woman suffered a broken finger and cuts during a scuffle with the armed man, but the thief claimed the car and drove off.

Police were alerted, spotted the Honda and gave chase. The pursuit wound through the city for 18 minutes. The SUV smashed into a car at Town Center and pushed the vehicle and its injured occupants into a fence, before continuing on.

The fleeing driver sped in and out of parking lots, struck a parked car and caused a pursuing officer to crash a patrol car into a utility pole. The stolen SUV sustained a lot of damage and eventually slowed to a crawl. The driver fell out of the vehicle, rolled and stood up, started to run and was subdued by an officer.

A conviction on cumulative charges associated with the carjacking could add up to prison term exceeding a double life sentence. Criminal defense attorneys sometimes cannot help defendants avoid imprisonment, but they can work to make sure a term is as short as possible, even for serious offenses.

Source: The Virginian-Pilot, "Va. Beach carjacking suspect: 'What did I do?'," Elisabeth Hulette, July 4, 2014.

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