Written by Celeste Foster
Carjacking cases have become rampant in recent years, which is an alarming trend for any car owner. Perhaps the most worrying part is the fact that many people don’t know what to do in such situations. As such, they may end up sustaining injuries in an attempt to free themselves. In this article, you’ll find valuable information that will help you in case you experience this terrifying ordeal.
But first, what is carjacking? Basically, it’s a violent crime that occurs when an armed assailant (possibly with a gun) forcefully removes a car’s occupants in an attempt to steal the vehicle or the valuable items inside of it. Many criminals prefer this technique rather than stealing a parked car from a lot since the vehicle doesn’t need to be hotwired. Also, most vehicles today come equipped with anti-theft technology, which makes it more difficult to steal them when the ignition is not engaged. These assailants, who commit these crimes, are usually determined to get what they want, and won’t hesitate to shoot those who try to get in their way.
What To Do During The Incident
Carjacking is typically a robbery, and the perpetrators are usually in a desperate position to get whatever they want from you. As earlier stated, most of these people are usually armed with lethal weapons. Therefore, the last thing you would want to do is get into a tense confrontation with the carjacker. If you have a chance to escape, make every effort to do so, and then head towards a well-lit public place.
However, escaping may not always be possible, especially if the carjackers are already in your car. In such a case, give them whatever they want and avoid risking your life over items that are easily replaceable.
Cooperating with criminals may not come naturally for some people, but it’s one of the best ways to ensure that you get out of the situation alive. Also, don’t make any sudden movements, which may give them the idea that you want to attack. A carjacking situation is not as straightforward as it might sound.
One thing you shouldn’t allow, though, is letting the assailant drive you to a second crime scene. Do as much as you can to avoid getting in the car with them. If the carjacker is in the driver’s seat, this situation can easily turn into a kidnapping story. Of course, it’s not advisable to get into a fierce confrontation with these people, but this is an exception. Fight to resist getting in the car like your life depends on it, because it definitely does.
What To Do After The Incident
So, you’ve managed to get away from the carjackers and you’re now at a secure place, but the car is gone. What do you do next?
- Report To The Authorities
Immediately after the incident, call the police helpline or walk to the nearest station and report the incident. It might seem like an obvious move, but many people ignore it and don’t file a report as soon as possible. This step will not only facilitate the process of finding your vehicle, but also act as proof when dealing with the insurance company. Make sure to note the police file number, as you’ll be required to produce it when making your claim.
- File An Insurance Claim
The next step will be to contact the insurance company and file a car-theft claim as soon as possible. Most of these organizations have an online platform by which you can file your claim and submit all the necessary details. Here, you’ll be asked to input your name, the police file number, and any other relevant information. Alternatively, you can call the company line and describe your problem to the available agent.
What Are the Penalties of Carjacking?
A defense for charges relating to carjacking is a very complex issue, and the outcome will highly depend on the actions of the defendant. Did they kidnap the occupants? Was there a weapon—like a gun—involved? Was the car owner injured? These are some of the questions that’ll be asked, and their answers will determine the final court decision. If there was no force or fear used (which is very uncommon), then the case will take the form of an auto-theft. This can save the suspect a lot of years in prison. Perpetrators of carjacking often don’t keep in mind that this is a serious crime, and the defense lawyer can only do enough to reduce the sentence.
The laws defining this crime may vary with regions, but the charges are more or less the same. Someone facing carjacking charges really needs to consult with the experts. Do the research and find the professionals who can help the best. The lawyers at Clark, Clark & Noonan, LLC, for instance, will take up the case and advise on what to do next.
With the concerning rate of carjacking cases, it could be very easy to find yourself in this seemingly impossible situation. The incident can take many forms, apart from what you’ve seen in movies where the carjacker points a gun to the driver. Therefore, you should always be on the lookout and be aware of what’s going on around you. However, even with all these precautions, you can still become a victim of this crime.
The first thing to do, of course, is to make sure that you come out alive. Let the suspects take whatever they want, but never get into the car with them. Once you’re safe, contact the authorities and report the case. Make sure to get the case number to file a claim with the insurance company. Remember that carjacking is a serious crime and the perpetrator can’t, and shouldn’t, go unpunished.
About the author: Celeste Foster is a full-time blogger who writes topics about law and business. Celeste has successfully gained the loyalty of many readers because of her ability to write informative and engaging articles that talk about complex topics.