Carjacking/ Armed Carjacking
Carjacking is prohibited by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 21A. Carjacking is the crime of assaulting, maiming, confining or putting a person in fear for the purpose of stealing a motor vehicle. To be convicted of carjacking, the prosecutor is required to prove that the defendant had the intent to steal the vehicle. “Intent to steal” means the intent to deprive the owner of his motor vehicle permanently. A defendant can be convicted of carjacking even if he fails in stealing the vehicle.
Nationwide, carjacking is one of the most common crimes. According to the Department of Justice, there are 49,000 carjackings every year. Because of the volume of carjackings, the federal government passed a law in 1992 that makes carjacking a capital crime if a death occurs during its commission.
In Massachusetts, carjacking is punishable by up to 15 years in state prison (or up to 2 ½ years in a house of correction and a fine of at least $1,000 and up to $15,000 if prosecuted in a District Court). The punishment is more serious for carjacking while armed with a dangerous weapon, also known as aggravated carjacking. Aggravated carjacking is punishable by up to 20 years in state prison. If the defendant was armed with a firearm, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or assault weapon at the time of the carjacking, he faces a five-year mandatory minimum state prison sentence. Most carjackings will be aggravated since almost 90 percent of carjacking attempts involve the use of a weapon.
Motor Vehicle Theft / Receiving Stolen Motor Vehicle
Motor Vehicle Larceny is a felony offense governed by chapter 266, section 28 of the Massachusetts General Laws. At common law, larceny was defined as the trespassory taking and carrying away of the property of another person with the intent to steal. The word “trespassory” means without right. “Intent to steal” means the intent to deprive the other person of the property permanently. For example, there is no intent to steal where one merely intends to borrow property or where one mistakenly believes the property to be his own. Typical examples of larceny include pick pocketing, purse snatching, and theft.
Whomever steals a motor vehicle, maliciously damages a motor vehicle, buys or receives a stolen vehicle, steals a car for parts, or conceals a person whom they know to have stolen a vehicle will face up to 15 years in state prison and up to $15,000 in fines.