Carjacking Laws in Nevada: Definition, Penalties, and Common Defenses

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Watching news channels and reading newspapers, we often come across incidents of carjacking. It’s usually also followed by a high-speed chase that entertains us viewers but for the victim of carjacking, it’s a nightmare.

Carjacking is a serious and violent crime that involves stealing someone else’s vehicle by force or threat of violence. It can happen to anyone at any time, regardless of age, gender, or location. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, carjacking has been on the rise in recent years, with an estimated 1 million vehicles reported stolen and costing owners more than $8 billion in 2022 alone.

In the state of Nevada, carjacking falls under various related crimes such as grand larceny of a motor vehicle, robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, battery, murder, and attempted murder. Being charged with any of these offenses can lead to severe penalties, including fines, restitution, and imprisonment. It is crucial for individuals facing carjacking charges in Nevada to seek the assistance of a skilled criminal defense lawyer to navigate the complex legal landscape and mount a strong defense.

If you are facing carjacking charges, contact The Defenders. Our team of experienced attorneys specializes in defending clients against violent crime charges, including carjacking. We understand the gravity of these accusations and will work tirelessly to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Contact our office today for a free consultation.

What Exactly Is Carjacking?

Carjacking is the taking of a motor vehicle by force, violence, or intimidation from the driver.

Carjacking usually occurs in the process or during the commission of another crime.

In Nevada, there is no specific criminal law or statute for carjacking alone as a crime, but instead, it is included in other crimes that can include one of the following offenses:

Grand Larceny of a Motor Vehicle

Grand larceny of a motor vehicle refers to the act of stealing or attempting to steal a motor vehicle. This offense is considered a category C felony in Nevada. A conviction for grand larceny of a motor vehicle can result in a prison sentence of one to five years, fines of up to $10,000, and restitution for the value of the stolen vehicle.


Robbery occurs when someone unlawfully takes another person’s property through the use of force, violence, or intimidation. In the context of carjacking, it involves stealing a vehicle from its driver or occupants. Robbery is classified as a category B felony in Nevada, punishable by a prison sentence of two to fifteen years. If a deadly weapon is used during the robbery, an additional sentence of one to fifteen years may be imposed.

Assault with a Deadly Weapon

Assault with a deadly weapon involves using a weapon, such as a gun, to threaten or cause fear of immediate bodily harm to another person. This offense is also considered a category B felony in Nevada, carrying a potential prison sentence of one to six years and fines of up to $5,000.


Battery refers to the unlawful use of force on another person, such as punching or physically harming them. Depending on the severity of the offense, battery can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. If substantial bodily harm is caused or a deadly weapon is used, it may result in felony charges.

Murder and Attempted Murder

Murder involves deliberately causing the death of another person, while attempted murder refers to the act of trying to kill someone but not succeeding. Both offenses carry severe penalties, ranging from a minimum of 25 years in prison to life imprisonment or even the death penalty, depending on the circumstances.

Will I Get Prison Time for Carjacking in Nevada

Yes, you will get prison time if convicted of carjacking in Nevada.

But since there is no actual statute for carjacking in Nevada, your prison sentence is based on what crimes you are charged with and what crimes you are convicted of.

After trying to secure a conviction, the prosecution will charge the suspects with a multitude of crimes for one offense depending on the severity of the crime.

For example, stealing a parked car is completely different from carjacking since there is a person involved in carjacking and only an object is involved in stealing a car.

The following are the penalties for the crimes associated with carjacking crimes in Nevada:

Offense Penalties
Grand Larceny of a Motor Vehicle Category C felony
1-5 years in prison
Up to $10,000 in fines
Restitution for the value of the stolen vehicle
Robbery Category B felony
2-15 years in prison
Additional 1-15 years if a deadly weapon is used
Assault with a Deadly Weapon Category B felony
1-6 years in prison
Up to $5,000 in fines
Battery Misdemeanor or felony depending on severity
Penalties vary based on circumstances
Murder Category A felony
25 years to life imprisonment or death penalty
Attempted Murder Category B felony
2-20 years in prison
Additional 1-20 years if a deadly weapon is used or the victim is 60 years or older

Since carjacking is a federal crime prosecutors may press charges and defendants may face the following federal penalties:

  • Up to 15 years in Federal Prison with a fine if there was no serious injury or death
  • Up to 25 years in federal prison if serious bodily injury occurs
  • Life in federal prison if the victim dies as a result of the carjacking

This is on top of the state charges but usually prosecutors will take the charges that force the highest penalty, but a defendant may have to fight both if charged.

Defenses Against Carjacking Charges

Every crime including carjacking is a unique case.

That’s why hiring an experienced defense team like the defenders can make the difference between prison and walking free.

A good defense team will use facts and evidence to defend their clients.

A few potential defenses of carjacking charges are:


They say 90% of all false convictions are based on some form of eyewitness testimony.

Eyewitness testimony or eyewitness identifications are the most disputed evidence in any criminal case. Eyewitnesses forget or didn’t get a real good look at the suspect. Maybe it was a night or maybe the witness was afraid or intimidated by the police or even the suspect. This can all lead to false identification.

Coerced confession

False or coerced confessions happen all the time. You might ask why would anyone confess to a crime they didn’t commit?

For years police have been using illegal interrogation techniques to get a false confession. For example, they may interrogate a suspect for many hours without food or water and sleep deprivation. The suspect may be so tired and hungry and think if they tell them what they want to hear they may be able to get food, water and sleep.

False Accusation

This usually when someone wants to get the defendant in trouble and falsely files police report.

Lawful Possession of Vehicle

The defendant was lawfully given use of the vehicle or the owner of the vehicle allowed the defendant use of the car.

Illegal Search and Seizure

Anything that is collected as evidence when illegal search and seizure happens a judge will rule as not admissible in court.

Did the police have a warrant to search the vehicle or your home?

If evidence was obtained through an illegal search and seizure, such as without a proper warrant, a defense attorney can challenge the admissibility of that evidence in court. If the evidence is deemed inadmissible, it may weaken the prosecution’s case.

Why Hire The Defenders

We have years of experience as Nevada’s criminal defense attorney group. 

We offer 24 hour a day service and a free case review. 

We use our own investigative team to gather evidence to defend the charges against you.

We handle all court appearances for our clients.

We have a good reputation with the prosecutor’s office and can get your charges reduced or even dismissed based on the evidence.

We can stop deportation and even get the charges sealed in the future.

We can take a case all the way to trial or get a plea bargain based on our clients’ wishes.

We have experienced defense attorneys on staff who can defend any crime including carjacking.

What The Defenders Can Do For You:

  • Investigate your case to determine all facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged crime
  • Determine whether there was police error or misconduct, or you are being falsely accused
  • Go over the strengths and weaknesses of your case with you to give you an idea of how your case will stand up in court
  • Inform you of all the legal options available to you

Prosecutors have a vast amount of resources available to them to find the necessary evidence to convict you.

The Defenders are well-versed in the prosecution’s tactics and can help you counter them aggressively.

We have a number of creative options available to us that can convince the court to dismiss or reduce the charges against you.

Contact our office today for a free case evaluation.

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