Carjacking in Washington is the crime where someone takes another person’s motor vehicle by means of force or threatened force. The offense is a serious felony that can result in life in prison. Please contact a skilled criminal defense attorney now if you or a loved one is facing any type of theft or robbery charge.

What is Washington’s Law on Carjacking?

Washington’s law on carjacking is set forth in the State’s robbery statute, RCW 9A.56.190. Under this law, you are guilty of carjacking if you:

  1. Take another person’s motor vehicle,
  2. Do so against that person’s will, and
  3. Accomplish the taking by means of force or violence (or threatened force or violence).

What are the Penalties?

Depending on the facts of the case, carjacking can be charged as either:

  • First-degree robbery, or
  • Second-degree robbery.

You will face a first-degree robbery charge if you take a motor vehicle and do so either:

  • While armed with a deadly weapon, or
  • While inflicting bodily injury on the “victim.”

First-degree robbery is a Class A felony punishable by:

  • Life in prison, and/or
  • A maximum fine of $50,000.

All other forms of carjacking are charged as a Class B felony. The possible penalties include:

  • A prison sentence of up to 10 years, and/or
  • A maximum fine of $20,000.

Can a Defendant Raise a Legal Defense?

Yes. You have the right to challenge a carjacking charge with a legal defense. A common defense is to show that while you may have taken a car, you did so with the consent of the car owner. Consent means that you did not take a vehicle against the “victim’s” will.

Further, you can challenge a carjacking charge by showing that while you may have stolen a car, you did so without using any type of force or violence. But note that while this defense might successfully challenge a carjacking charge, you could still face some type of theft charge.

You can also contest a carjacking charge by showing that the police violated one of your constitutional rights. For example, maybe the authorities:

  • Arrested you without probable cause,
  • Conducted an unlawful search and seizure, or
  • Coerced a confession.

In these case, the violation can result in a judge reducing your charge or dismissing it in its entirety.

Contact Black & Askerov for Help

While a defendant can raise a legal defense to challenge a carjacking charge, it will take a skilled criminal defense attorney to raise the best defense. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Black & Askerov have over 35 years of combined experience defending clients on various theft and robbery charges. Our Seattle criminal defense lawyers also have the skill and commitment that makes all the difference in these cases. Our attorneys will fight tooth and nail for you at every step of your case. Contact us now to get the legal help you deserve!