Federal Carjacking Laws

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Carjacking Crimes — Federal Law

carjacking lawsThe statute for federal carjacking is found at 18 U.S.C.A. § 2119. Under federal law, carjacking is the taking of a motor vehicle that has been transported, shipped, or received in interstate or foreign commerce from the person or presence of another by force and violence or by intimidation, or attempts to do so, commits an offense. The offender must have the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury. .

The interstate commerce connection is established by the movement of the vehicle in interstate or foreign commerce. To establish a nexus with interstate commerce it should be necessary to prove only that the motor vehicle traveled at some time in interstate or foreign commerce, such as the vehicle was manufactured in another state or that it was ever transported across state lines. Scarborough v. United States, 431 U.S. 563, 577, 97 S. Ct. 1963, 1970, 52 L. Ed. 2d 582 (1977).

The elements of the federal carjacking statute (which apply to offenses occurring on or after September 13, 1994) are:

  • that the defendant intended to cause serious bodily harm or death;
  • that the defendant took a motor vehicle from the person or presence of another;
  • that the defendant took a motor vehicle by force and violence or by intimidation; and
  • that the motor vehicle had been transported, shipped, or received in interstate or foreign commerce.

 

Penalties

The penalties are stiff for those who violate this law. Carjackers face imprisonment for up to fifteen years. If serious bodily injury results, the defendant may be sentenced to a term of up to twenty-five years imprisonment. If death results, the defendant may be sentenced to life in prison or the death penalty.

 

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Legal Assistance

If you or a loved one has been charged with carjacking or any other federal crime, contact a New Orleans criminal defense attorney for a consultation.

 

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