Virginia Carjacking Lawyer

Under Virginia Law, a theft involving carjacking refers to the intentional seizure or taking of another car, motor vehicle, or motorcycle with the intent to permanently deprive another person of the control of that vehicle. In addition, carjacking involves a means of force, whether it be by strangulation, beating, assault, weapons, firearms or any other means of putting that person in fear of bodily harm.

A Virginia carjacking lawyer can help with the legalities of car theft. Contact an experienced defense attorney right away to begin your defense.

Carjacking Scenarios and Charges

The following is the most common scenario in a Virginia carjacking: a person drives along, stops at a traffic light or stop sign, and somebody walks up to the car with a gun, a knife, or some other type of weapon to get the driver out of the car. The driver leaves out of fear, and then the perpetrator takes the car.

Depending on how the alleged carjacking was done, a person might also be charged with the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, possibly a concealed weapons charge, an assault charge, or strangulation charge. If a person is convicted, they are looking at a potential sentence of 15 years to life in prison.

Differences Between Carjacking, Auto Theft, and Joyriding

Auto theft refers to a person who takes a car that does not belong to them, but it assumes that the car was not occupied at the time of the theft. Carjacking refers to a person who takes the car directly from somebody who is driving the vehicle at that time and includes the use of force or threat. There is no violence associated with an auto theft, whereas carjacking is a crime of violence.

Joyriding does not have a separate statute in Virginia, but it is generally considered to be the unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. For example, using somebody’s car without their permission is joyriding. The intention is not necessarily to permanently deprive them of that car. While carjacking involves the use of force or the threat, joyriding involves taking a car without permission. A Virginia carjacking lawyer could better help distinguish between these ideas.

Prior Criminal Convictions

A person charged with carjacking, who also has prior criminal felony convictions, will adversely impact their ability to testify on their own behalf at their trial because the presence of a prior felony conviction is an impeachable event. Additionally, the prosecutor can bring up their past felony convictions to the jury in order to try to impeach their credibility as a witness.  If a person is convicted of carjacking and has prior convictions on their record, any sentence that they receive will be higher than it would have been with no prior convictions.

Hiring a Virginia Carjacking Lawyer

Carjacking is an enhanced version of the robbery statute. If a person is convicted, they are looking at a potential imprisonment of 15 years to life. A person will need a Virginia carjacking lawyer to try to mitigate such repercussions.

A person convicted of carjacking always has a lawyer because there is no court in Virginia that would allow him to go forward without either hiring his own lawyer or having one appointed by the court. If the person is convicted and feels as though it was a wrongful conviction, he can always hire a separate lawyer to initiate an appeal with the Virginia Court of Appeals.

The first thing a Virginia carjacking lawyer will talk about with their client is obtaining the attorney the right away, so they can begin preparing the allegedly charged person’s case immediately. They will discuss the facts and circumstances that lead to the charge, determine what discovery the prosecution has, begin collecting evidence, talk to witnesses, and obtain an investigator if necessary.