New law increasing sentences for carjackers to become effective on July 1

(NASHVILLE, TN), June 28, 2016 — July 1 marks the implementation of a wide variety of new laws in Tennessee including major legislation that requires any person convicted of carjacking to serve no less than 75 percent of the sentence imposed by the court, less any earned and retained sentence credits. Previously, offenders convicted of carjacking could serve as little as 30 percent of their sentence before being released on parole.

The legislation was passed amid a spate of carjackings in the Memphis area over the past year.
“Tennesseans should not have to worry about being held at gunpoint while driving in our communities,” said Senator Kelsey, who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and co-sponsor of the new law. “This new law will keep Tennesseans safer by ensuring that carjackers serve more time behind bars.”

Carjacking is defined as the intentional or knowing taking of a motor vehicle from the possession of another by use of a deadly weapon or by force or intimidation and is a Class B Felony. According to statistics from the Tennessee Department of Corrections, the average person convicted of carjacking currently serves less than five years behind bars.

Senator Kelsey was also a sponsor of Governor Bill Haslam’s Public Safety Act which addresses the most serious offenses driving Tennessee’s violent crime rate by establishing mandatory minimum sentences for those convicted of three or more charges of aggravated burglary, especially aggravated burglary or drug trafficking. He is a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Sentencing and Recidivism.

Senator Kelsey represents a portion of eastern Shelby County in the Tennessee Senate.

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