Carjacking falls under the category of violent crimes in the state of New York. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the event – the suspect will be charged with a felony offense.
Carjacking is defined as the criminal taking of a motor vehicle from its driver by force, violence or intimidation. The crime of carjacking was first introduced to Congress in the spring of 1992 by Representative Charles E. Schumer. A few months later a new law involving carjacking was formulated into the Anti-Car Theft Act of 1992. The act focused on the problem of car theft as a whole, due to the fact that it had become the number one property crime in the United States. In fact, automobiles made up more than 50% of the property lost to theft for U.S. citizens.
In the fall of 1992, a mother and her 22-month-old daughter were carjacked in Maryland. The mother was forced out of her car by two men. In a struggle to protect her young daughter, she was entangled in the seatbelt outside of her car. The mother was dragged for nearly two miles before she was freed from the seatbelt; her daughter, buckled in her car seat, was thrown from the vehicle shortly afterwards. The mother died of massive internal injuries, while her daughter survived unharmed. Due to the utter violence of the crime – the public’s reaction fueled new laws that made carjacking a federal offense.
Carjacking is considered a completed or attempted robbery of a motor vehicle by a stranger. Carjackers do not necessarily target a specific vehicle. It is thought as more of a crime of opportunity than anything else. Carjackers will target a running vehicle or a vehicle with its windows down. While many people assume only luxury and high-end vehicles are the targets for this crime, the truth is that all types of cars are taken in carjacking, even older and lower priced vehicles.
All types of carjacking crimes are prosecuted as a felony in the state of New York. The penalties for carjacking vary depending on the facts surrounding the incident. For instance, if the suspect carried the crime out with the use of a deadly weapon, or if they caused serious bodily injury they could be facing class B felony charges and up to 25 years in prison.
If the suspect caused injury to another person and displayed what appeared to be a deadly weapon, they could face class C felony charges and up to 15 years in prison. If the person committed the crime without the use of a deadly weapon and did not cause injury to the victim, they may be facing class D felony charges and up to 7 years in prison. If you were arrested for carjacking – it would be in your best interests to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.