New Jersey Carjacking Law

We represent clients charged with N.J.S.A. 2C:15-2; New Jersey carjacking complaints and indictments filed in Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Mercer County, Somerset County, Essex County, Union County, and Hudson County.

The state must prove several material elements.

First, the property taken was a motor vehicle.

In order for there to be an offense, there must be an unlawful taking of a motor vehicle.

A motor vehicle includes all vehicles propelled other than by muscular power.

Bicycles and vehicles running on tracks or rails are excluded.

Second, defendant took or attempted to take it.

There must be a taking; this requires the moving of the vehicle.

There is no carjacking if there is the mere exercise of control without a taking or attempted taking.

Third, defendant did so unlawfully.

State must prove that defendant knew he or she is not entitled to take the car.

Fourth, defendant had a purpose to deprive another of the vehicle.

Next, the state must prove that one of the four types of conduct were committed by a defendant during the course of an offense.

First, defendant inflicted bodily injury or used force.

Defendant must have either inflicted bodily injury upon an occupant or persons in possession or control of a motor vehicle or used force on the occupant or person in possession or control of a motor vehicle.

The offense may be committed even if the force is used against the victim while the victim is outside the vehicle.

Either pushing aside a person about to enter the vehicle and driving away with the vehicle or putting a gun to the head of a victim loading groceries in to a vehicle may be sufficient for a conviction.

Encompassed within this offense is the use of force - against a person who has left her car - in an attempt to take the car keys intending to steal the car.

The defendant's taking of car keys from victim and then going to vehicle and driving it away is not sufficient without proof that the victim was physically near the vehicle.

Bodily injury means physical pain, illness or any impairment of physical condition.

Serious bodily injury need not be proved.

The force must be applied to the occupant or person.

Using force to gain entrance to a vehicle to move a vehicle is not sufficient.

Second, this was done upon an occupant or person in possession of a vehicle.

Under this second type the state must also prove that a defendant threatened or purposely or knowingly put the occupant or passenger in fear of immediate bodily injury.

state must prove that the defendant either threatened an occupant or person in control of a vehicle with immediate bodily injury or a defendant purposely or knowingly put the occupant or person in control at risk of immediate bodily injury.

This includes verbal or other express offers of serious harm.

An example would be the brandishing of a gun.

Third, the state must prove the elements of a first or second degree crime the defendant committed or threatened to immediately commit.

The victim need not be an occupant or a person in possession of a motor vehicle.

An example would be a defendant committing an aggravated assault upon a would be rescuer.

Fourth, the state must prove that a defendant operated a vehicle or caused it to be operated and that a person in possession at the time of the taking remained in the car.

Encompassed within this offense is not only a perpetrator of the offense operating the vehicle but also an offender who causes the occupant or person in possession to operate the vehicle.

There is no offense of attempted carjacking.

If force is used during an attempted carjacking, defendant is charged with carjacking and not attempted carjacking.

Although carjacking is a first degree crime the court may impose a term in excess of the noraml first degree range.

A court may sentence a defendant to an ordinary term of imprisonment between 10 and 30 years.

Minimum term that the court may impose during which time defendant is ineligible for parole is five years.

If you have any questions for a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer about a New Jersey carjacking charge, please do not hesitate to contact us.