In Minnesota, carjacking is charged as a simple or aggravated robbery with a possible prison sentence of up to 10 years. If aggravating factors apply, the prison sentence can double.
Carjacking Convictions Come With Harsh Penalties
Under Minnesota law, motor vehicle theft is defined as taking or driving a vehicle without the consent of the vehicle’s owner or authorized agent. Vehicle theft also includes unauthorized use of a rental car and stealing fuel for a vehicle. If a person is convicted of motor vehicle theft in Minnesota, he or she can face fines up to $10,000 and a prison sentence up to five years.
Most vehicle thefts in Minnesota are committed when cars are parked without an owner present. However, some vehicle thefts occur when there is a driver or passenger in the car. This quickly elevates the offense to a carjacking charge, which is considered a felony under Minnesota law. If convicted of carjacking, an offender faces harsh penalties without criminal lawyers for defense. Penalties may include fines up to $20,000 and a prison sentence up to 10 years.
Carjackings are more dangerous because occupants in the car at the time of the crime may face greater risks of bodily harm and death. If aggravating factors apply, criminal charges and penalties for a carjacking crime increase. Aggravating factors include:
- Inflicting bodily harm on another person
- Using a dangerous weapon during the carjacking
- Using any object that the victim believes to be a dangerous weapon
- Implying or telling the victim that a dangerous weapon is present
By simply implying that a dangerous weapon is present, carjacking penalties can increase significantly with fines as high as $30,000 and a prison sentence of up to 15 years. If several aggravating factors are present, an offender can face up to $35,000 in fines and 20 years behind bars.
In Minnesota, felony convictions require criminal lawyers who can provide proper criminal defense and work to get penalties reduced. In addition to tens of thousands of dollars in fines and serious prison time, convicted felons lose voting rights and the right to possess a weapon following release from prison.
In Minneapolis, auto thefts and carjackings are up by 41% this year. Twin City residents have experienced a significant rise in violent carjackings perpetrated by teenage offenders, often armed with weapons. Unfortunately, many have resulted in dangerous police chases and injuries to innocent victims.