DC Carjacking Lawyer

In DC, carjacking is forcefully or violently taking a car from another person’s possession and is a felony offense with severe consequences. As a result, it is important to hire a DC carjacking lawyer as soon as a person knows that they are being investigated or charged with carjacking. To begin working on your defense, call and schedule a consultation with a theft lawyer in DC today.

Elements of Carjacking

To prove a carjacking, the government is required to prove four elements:

  • That the person took the motor vehicle from the immediate possession of another person against his or her will and that they did so without the right to take it.
  • That the person used physical force or violence in taking the vehicle.
  • That the person did this voluntarily and not by mistake.
  • That the person took possession of the motor vehicle against the other person’s will, the government may show that the other person struggled with the defendant or resisted in giving up the vehicle.

To prove that the person used physical force or violence, it is enough for the government to show that the person used only words or gestures as long as the complaining witness was put in fear of danger.

Difference Between Carjacking and Auto Theft

Carjacking is different from auto theft in that carjacking requires more. It requires proof that the person actually took the vehicle from someone else’s possession and used physical force or violence in taking it. Due to this higher burden of proof, a DC carjacking attorney can assist in building a defense.

Example of Carjacking

An example of a carjacking scenario is where a person comes up to an unknown driver of a car, stopped at a red light, opens the car door, pulls the driver out of the car, gets in and drives away.

It would also be carjacking if a person came up to the driver of a car that was stopped at a red light and while using words and gestures, tells the driver that he better get out of the car that very second before the person gets in the car and drives away.

As long as the driver was put in a reasonable fear of danger, this could also be carjacking scenario.

Preparing a Defense

In preparing a defense for carjacking, a person’s DC carjacking lawyer gathers evidence to show that the person did not use physical force or violence in taking the vehicle or they did so by mistake or accident.

For example, the lawyer might try to argue that the person felt the vehicle was their own car based on similarities of the vehicles and therefore, they may have a defense of mistake.

If a person is the rightful owner of the vehicle and they tried to stop someone else from driving away, that is also a strong defense to carjacking. The carjacking attorney in DC will also try to attack the credibility of the complaining witness. For example, if the crime occurred at night or while it was raining, the complaining witness most likely did not have a clear view of the person who carjacked the car.

Alternatively, if the person accused of carjacking and the complaining witness had a poor relationship in the past, their lawyer may try to argue that the complaining witness was biased.