DC Carjacking Lawyer

As a general matter, carjacking is when a person uses physical force or violence to steal a motor vehicle from the immediate possession of another person.

In DC, carjacking is a serious felony offense that carries serious penalties including jail time and fines. For this reason, and the fact that it is considered a violent felony crime, it is important for an individual to hire a DC carjacking lawyer immediately upon learning they are either being investigated for carjacking or being charged with carjacking. To learn more or discuss your case, call and schedule a consultation with a

To learn more or discuss your case, call and schedule a consultation with a theft lawyer in DC today.

Elements of Carjacking

The prosecution must prove the following elements to sustain a conviction for carjacking in DC:

  • The prosecution must prove that the accused, while using physical force or violence,
  • took a car or other motor vehicle from another person’s immediate possession.

The prosecution must also prove that the accused took the vehicle voluntarily, not by accident or mistake, and that it was against the other person’s will. The prosecution has a relatively low threshold in proving the element of physical force or violence. If the prosecution proves that the alleged victim was in fear based on the accused’s conduct, the element of force or violence will be satisfied.

Therefore, a local DC carjacking attorney is imperative to ensure the prosecution is not able to meet this threshold.

Is Carjacking the Same As Auto Theft?

Auto theft and carjacking are different in that carjacking requires evidence that the accused used physical force or violence to take the car from someone else’s immediate possession.

Auto theft does not require the element of physical force or violence being used in stealing someone else’s vehicle.

Examples of Carjacking

One example of carjacking would be where a person confronts a car owner who is stepping into his vehicle late at night in an empty parking lot, pushes the owner away from the vehicle, and drives away with the owner’s vehicle.

Pushing the car owner away would satisfy the physical force or violence element and it would also satisfy the requirement of taking it against the other person’s will. Even if the person had confronted the owner and verbally demanded that he step back from the car before getting in and driving away, this would satisfy the physical force or violence element, provided that the owner was put in a reasonable fear of danger.

Difference Between Carjacking and Joyriding

Carjacking is considered to be a serious violent crime. Joyriding as a carjacking attorney in DC can explain, is a criminal offense but it is generally not regarded as violent and has lower maximum penalties than carjacking.

The major distinction between the two is carjacking requires force or violence when taking the car away from the person who has immediate possession. Joyriding only requires proof that the accused operated another person’s motor vehicle, knowing that he or she does not have permission to do so.

Building a Defense

There are many different types of evidence a carjacking lawyer in the DC area will gather in preparing an individual’s defense to a charge of carjacking.

First, a lawyer would investigate how his client was identified as the carjacker.  If the original operator of the car was the identifier, the defense lawyer could investigate the circumstances that could have produced an unreliable identification.  If the client was identified through fingerprints or DNA in the car, the defense lawyer could explore alternative scenarios that could have resulted in the client’s fingerprints or DNA being found in the stolen vehicle.

Defense lawyers could possible seek out surveillance footage from the area in which the carjacking allegedly took place to challenge unreliable witness testimony.