In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, anyone who assaults, confines, maims, or puts another person in fear for the purpose of stealing a motor vehicle shall be charged with carjacking under M. G. L. c. 265 § 21(a). Due to the inherent dangerousness of this crime, the penalties associated with carjacking carry a heavy weight. In instances of carjacking, the safety of both the carjacker and the victim is compromised and threatened, with the outcome often resulting in the death of the victim. The crime of carjacking is a very dangerous and very serious offense in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and should be not taken lightly. The worst-case scenario is when an additional crime has been committed resulting from the initial carjacking, such as death, motor vehicle crashes, injury and kidnapping. Carjacking is considered a felony offense and requires the expertise of a skilled Massachusetts criminal defense attorney.

This crime is punishable by:

  • Imprisonment in the state prison for a maximum of fifteen years, or in a jail or house of correction for a maximum of 2.5 years, and
  • Minimum fine of $1,000 and maximum fine of $15,000

However, in the event that the individual is armed with a dangerous weapon, this crime is punishable by:

  • Imprisonment in the state prison for a maximum of twenty years, or in a jail or house of correction for a mandatory minimum of 1 year, but no more than 2.5 years

In 1992, Congress made it a federal crime to use a weapon while in progress of hijacking or stealing a motor vehicle. This new law came during the peak of carjacking crimes and was partially due to the expansive media coverage of high profile carjacking thefts, several of which resulted in deaths. The United States Department of Justice estimates that in about half of all carjacking attempts, the attacker succeeds in stealing the victim's car.

A report conducted by the USDOJ from 1993-2002 showed roughly 38,000 carjacking attempts took place per year, and a weapon was used in 74% of carjacking victimizations. Firearms were used in 45% of car jackings, knives in 11% and other weapons in 18%. Many U.S. states, such as Louisiana and Arizona, include defending oneself against forcible entry of an occupied motor vehicle as part of their definition of justifiable homicide.

What the Prosecution Must Prove

To secure a conviction against a defendant for the criminal offense of carjacking, the prosecution must be able to prove the following beyond reasonable doubt:

  • That the defendant took a motor vehicle from the person or presence of another;
  • That the defendant did so by force, violence, or intimidation;
  • That the defendant intended to cause serious bodily injury;
  • That the motor vehicle was either transported or shipped or received in interstate or foreign commerce; and
  • That the defendant acted knowingly and willfully.
Relentless Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with carjacking in Massachusetts, do not waste time; contact a relentless Boston criminal defense lawyer who will preserve your rights and effectively defend your case. Attorney Patrick J. Murphy is an extremely intelligent and resourceful Massachusetts criminal defense attorney who has decades of successful experience defending clients facing criminal charges such as carjacking. Patrick J. Murphy is a Boston assault and battery crimes defense attorney who is available 24/7 to provide you with a free and confidential legal assessment of your case. For additional information please call The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy today at (617) 367-0450 or complete the contact form on our website.

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