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Carjacking Lawyers

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What Is Carjacking?

Carjacking is felony crime that involves the use of violence to steal a car from a driver. In most cases a carjacker uses force, intimidation, and threats to gain unlawful seizure of the vehicle from the victim.

In a carjacking, the offender can be armed and can coerce a victim out of the vehicle and proceed without the victim in the car or a carjacker can bully the target into remaining in the automobile during the crime.

How Is Carjacking Different from Grand Theft Auto?

Carjacking and grand theft auto are similar in that both involve stealing a vehicle. However, the two crimes differ in terms of the manner in which a vehicle is stolen. It is important to note that there is a basic standard for all laws in the U.S. However, states are always entitled to increase the protections according to state law.

Carjacking is always a violent offense that involves forceful taking of a car from a person. The elements needed to prove a carjacking is as follows:

  • Must have intended to cause serious bodily harm or death.
  • Must have stolen a motor vehicle from the victim or in the presence of another.
  • Must have taken a vehicle by force, violence or by intimidation; also
  • The vehicle must have been moved, shipped, or arrived in an interstate or foreign exchange.

Grand theft auto, on the other hand, can occur without any violence and often the victim is not even present. The elements need to prove grand theft auto are as follows:

  • Took a vehicle that was not their own.
  • The vehicle was taken from a person who was present at the scene and possessed the vehicle or was a passenger.
  • The vehicle was taken against that person’s authorization.
  • Used force or fear to take the vehicle and prevent that person from objecting.
  • Used force or fear to take the vehicle, and the intent to take the vehicle from the person’s possession.

What Are the Likely Consequences of Being Charged with Carjacking?

Carjacking is a felony in every state. A carjacking is seen as a violent crime against a person rather than against property. Therefore, if you take a car when the owner is not present then it is not considered carjacking, rather it is grand theft auto. Also, police often add other charges when a carjacking occurs. For example, since carjacking requires force, an assault and battery charge often is included. Common consequences include:

  • Imprisonment
  • Parole or probation (after being imprisoned)
  • Paying restitution and other fines
  • Death penalty: this is a possibility, especially if a person is killed during the carjacking

How Can an Attorney Help Me?

Carjacking is a serious auto crime that can severely affect the rest of your life. If you are charged with carjacking, it is extremely important to consult an experienced criminal attorney to learn more about your rights, defenses, and the complicated legal system.

Photo of page author Nicole Shoener

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 01-28-2015 11:53 AM PST

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