Legislators introduced Wisconsinites to a new carjacking law in May of 2023. Carjacking has always been a crime in the state, but prior to the creation of this law, laws punishing carjacking behaviors fell under Wisconsin’s laws prohibiting operating a vehicle without the owner’s consent. Section 943.231 of the Wisconsin Statutes bans carjacking.
The most serious version of this offense is a Class B felony, which carries a maximum penalty of 60 years in prison. A lesser version of the crime is a Class E felony, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a fine of $50,000.00, or both. Finally, individuals that ride in carjacked vehicles as passengers, but didn’t actually steal the vehicle, can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. A Class A misdemeanor could result in 9 months in jail, $10,000.00 in fines, or both. This charge is obviously a serious crime, and a conviction could lead to spending the rest of your life in prison. It’s incredibly important to hire the correct criminal defense attorney when facing felony-level charges such as this.
You’ll meet some of Wisconsin’s best criminal defense lawyers at Van Severen Law Office, S.C. We’re consistently recognized by clients, our peers, and courts as experts in the criminal defense field. Importantly, we offer free consultations to potential clients facing criminal charges in Wisconsin. If you’re facing charges for any crime, including carjacking, contact us immediately. We’re available 24/7 at (414) 270-0202.
Section 943.231 of the Wisconsin Statutes bans carjacking. The law indicates:
(1) Whoever, while possessing a dangerous weapon and by the use of, or the threat of the use of, force or the weapon against another, intentionally takes any vehicle without the consent of the owner is guilty of a Class B felony.(2) Whoever, by the use of force against another or by the threat of the use of force against another, intentionally takes any vehicle without the consent of the owner is guilty of a Class E felony.(3) Whoever knows that the owner does not consent to the driving or operation of a vehicle and intentionally accompanies, as a passenger in the vehicle, a person while he or she violates sub. (1) is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
These jury instructions apply to 943.231(1) of the Wisconsin Statutes, the Class B felony version of the carjacking statute. Subsection (2) does not require the defendant to possess a weapon, so that element does not apply to that version of this offense.
Jury instructions are important because they break criminal charges down into smaller elements, or parts. The government must prove each of the elements beyond a reasonable doubt against the defendant. If they cannot succeed in this, the defendant cannot be found guilty of the crime. Often our criminal defense lawyers will discuss these instructions during an initial consultation. You’ll certainly see them prior to a plea hearing, and they’re also important for preparing for trial.
Milwaukee experienced a flood of reckless driving incidents in the early 2020s. Along with addressing those issues, lawmakers created a specific law addressing carjacking. Unfortunately, due to the media attention focused on this issue, individuals charged with carjacking will face a difficult battle. It’s important to hire a criminal defense attorney that knows exactly how to defend the charges you’re facing. Hiring a new attorney, or an attorney who does not specialize in criminal defense could lead to a disaster.
You’ll meet a few of Wisconsin’s best criminal defense lawyers at Van Severen Law Office, S.C. We’re consistently recognized as one of Wisconsin’s best criminal defense law firms. And importantly, we’ve helped individuals facing centuries worth of prison exposure. Fighting for clients facing a high-stakes battle is something we’re used to. And we’re prepared to use that experience to help you through the situation you’re dealing with.
Whether you’re looking to fight your case with pre-trial motions challenging constitutional issues, or you’re looking to fight your case at trial, or even if you’re considering some other route, we’re prepared to assist. We’ve won motions. We’ve won trial. And we’ve even negotiated winning plea offers for clients looking to simply resolve their cases.
Finally, contact us at (414) 270-0202. Let’s start talking about the charges you’re facing and how we can help.