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Criminal Resource Manual

113. Carjacking Crimes

Whoever, with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, takes a motor vehicle that has been transported, shipped, or received in interstate or foreign commerce from the person or presence of another by force and violence or by intimidation, or attempts to do so, commits an offense. 18 U.S.C.A. § 2119 (West Supp. 1995).

The interstate commerce nexus is established by the movement of the vehicle in interstate or foreign commerce. To establish a nexus with interstate commerce it should be necessary to prove only that the motor vehicle traveled at some time in interstate or foreign commerce, such as the vehicle was manufactured in another state or that it was ever transported across state lines. Cf. Scarborough v. United States, 431 U.S. 563, 577, 97 S. Ct. 1963, 1970, 52 L. Ed. 2d 582 (1977).

The penalties are stiff for those who violate this law. Carjackers face imprisonment for up to fifteen years. If serious bodily injury results, the defendant may be sentenced to a term of up to twenty-five years imprisonment. If death results, the defendant may be sentenced to life in prison or the death penalty. 18 U.S.C.A. § 2119(3) (West Supp. 1995).