Carjacking Charges in Louisiana: What’s the Difference Between Carjacking and Vehicle Theft?
A pregnant woman had to run after a carjacker in Chalmette, a suburb of New Orleans in Louisiana. The video, which was shown on Fox 8, went viral. Video surveillance from neighbors showed a group of three men walking down Kinds Drive in Chalmette when they spotted a car parked in the driveway.
The man in yellow is seen running toward the vehicle, while the other two kept walking in another direction. A few seconds later, the car backs down the drive while a pregnant woman tumbles as the vehicle reverses. The carjacker then flees the scene with the passenger door still open, while the woman tries to run after it, frantically waving her arms and calling for help.
Carjacker Hits Pregnant Woman with Car in Louisiana
As the carjacker flees after stealing the car, the woman tries to flag down a car until a mail truck eventually stops. Two children were inside the vehicle when the carjacker stole the car. According to the report, the suspected carjacker is now in custody. The suspect was identified as an 18-year-old black male.
Note: Starting in 2020, Louisiana law will direct 17-year-olds charged with non-violent and violent crimes through the juvenile justice system. A juvenile is any child who is under the age of 18.
The 18-year-old carjacker turned himself in the next day after the crime. As the carjacker was fleeing the scene, he struck the mother of two, who is seven months pregnant. The carjacker was identified through video surveillance and information from eyewitnesses. The young man will be booked with two counts of aggravated kidnapping and one count of carjacking.
What’s the Difference Between Carjacking and Vehicle Theft?
Many mistakenly believe that carjacking and theft of a motor vehicle are two synonymous terms. However, Louisiana law draws a fine line between the two.
Carjacking is defined as the intentional taking of another person’s motor vehicle that occurs in the presence of the car driver or a passenger. To qualify as carjacking, the person committing the crime must use force or intimidation.
Under Louisiana law, convicted carjackers must be imprisoned at hard labor for at least two years but no more than 20 years. There is no benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence for people who commit the crime of carjacking in Louisiana.
Theft of a motor vehicle, meanwhile, is the taking of a motor vehicle that belongs to someone else either (a) by means of fraudulent conduct or (b) without the owner’s consent. To qualify as vehicle theft, the person committing the crime must have the intention to permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle.
The taking control of a car when the person knows or should have known that the vehicle was stolen also qualifies as vehicle theft. The biggest difference between a carjacking and vehicle theft is that the former requires the owner to be in the immediate presence.
Louisiana law considers carjacking to be a more serious crime because it requires the use of force or intimidation to commit the crime. Speak with our New Orleans criminal attorneys to find out how you can avoid being found guilty or reduce the sentence. Contact Law Offices of Robert S. Toale by calling at 504-368-8440.