NASHVILLE – A proposal by State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) increasing sentences for carjacking was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee today. The measure, which was attached to Senate Bill 1572 through an amendment, requires any person convicted of carjacking to serve 75 percent of the sentence imposed by the court, less any earned and retained sentence credits. The sentence credits, however, may not reduce the time served below 60 percent.
Under current law, offenders convicted of carjacking can serve as little as 30 percent of their sentence before being released on parole.
“This proposal aims to keep Tennesseans safer by ensuring that carjackers serve more time behind bars,” said Kelsey. “It is a travesty that carjackers only have to serve 30 percent of their sentence.”
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.
The legislation comes amid a recent spate of carjackings in the Memphis area.
“Tennesseans should not have to worry about being held at gunpoint while driving in our communities. A red light is meant to keep you safe from other drivers, not put you in danger of being carjacked,” Kelsey concluded.
Senator Kelsey represents Cordova, East Memphis, and Germantown.