Wisconsin Assembly Aims for Harsher Carjacking Penalties

. The Wisconsin Assembly is set to give final approval to a bill designating carjacking as a criminal offense and creating harsher penalties for people who use a weapon to steal a vehicle. If the bill passes, carjacking will be punishable by up to 12-and-a-half years in prison.

MADISON (Wis.) - A bipartisan bill that criminalizes carjacking and increases penalties for those who use a firearm to steal a car is set for final approval by the Wisconsin Legislature.

The bill will be sent to the Democratic Governor if it is passed by the Assembly. Tony Evers has stated that he supports this measure. It was passed by the Senate last month in a 23-8 bipartisan vote. Evers signed a Republican-sponsored law to crackdown on reckless driving earlier this month.

The Republican-controlled Legislature has moved quickly this year to pass stricter criminal penalties after the GOP made rising crime rates an election issue in the 2022 midterm.

A person who threatens or uses force to steal a car can be charged for operating the vehicle without consent. The bill that will be voted on Tuesday would officially recognize this crime as carjacking.

According to the bill, anyone who steals a vehicle with a weapon would be guilty the second-highest felony level in the state. They could face up to 60 years of prison. The maximum penalty is currently up to 40-years in prison, plus a fine up to $100,000.

The bill would allow for up to 15-years in prison as well as a fine of up to $50,000 if a person is charged with the theft of a vehicle by force, without using a weapon.