Carjacking is defined by California Penal Code 215 PC as using force or fear to take a motor vehicle from another individual. "Force or fear" in this instance refers to threatening a person with physical harm, or actually using physical force against the intended victim. In the state of California, this is an extremely serious criminal offense which requires the legal guidance of a capable Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer. At The Justice Firm, we are dedicated to providing every client we represent with outstanding legal representation, working to achieve the best possible outcome and protect your freedom.
When someone has the intention of taking another person's vehicle from his or her immediate presence, or from a passenger without his or her permission, that person may be charged with carjacking if done through inflicting fear or force. Considered a serious theft crime offense, the penalties if convicted are harsh and may include up to nine years in jail. When a weapon is involved in the commission of the crime, penalties may be enhanced, or increased. You may also face a "strike" if convicted under California's Three Strikes law.Los Angeles Carjacking Penalties
Charged as a felony, a conviction for carjacking will result in potential jail/prison time, probation, and fines of up to $10,000. Additionally, these penalties apply to each victim when there are numerous passengers inside the vehicle. Penalties are also enhanced when the crime involves multiple victims or individuals. Sentencing enhancements may also apply depending on factors such as whether a weapon was used, whether a victim suffered great bodily injury, or was murdered.Potential Defenses to Carjacking in California
As with any criminal offense, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused individual is guilty of committing the crime. As seasoned Los Angeles carjacking defense lawyers, we know there are a number of defense tactics which may be effective, depending on the circumstances. In order to prove the crime of carjacking, the prosecutor must prove that:
- You took a motor vehicle that was not your own
- The vehicle was taken in the immediate presence of an individual who owned it, or was a passenger in the vehicle
- The vehicle was taken against that individual's will
- Force or fear was used by you to take the vehicle or to prevent the owner/passenger from resisting, and
- When you took to vehicle using fear or force, your intention was to deprive the owner/passenger of possession of the vehicle either permanently, or temporarily
When you secure the legal support of an experienced defense attorney, he or she may attempt to prove that you were mistakenly identified as the individual who committed the crime, or that you did not use fear or force in taking the vehicle from the victim. You cannot be convicted of carjacking in California if the alleged victim in fact consented to you taking the vehicle. This is often the case with couples, spouses, or friends who are involved in a dispute, with one giving permission to the other to take a vehicle for a period, then claiming permission was not given.Contact The Justice Firm for Aggressive Defense now
Whether you are under investigation after being accused of carjacking, or have been arrested or charged with this serious criminal offense, it is urgent you take action now. At The Justice Firm, we are ready to begin fighting on your behalf now. Contact us today at 310-914-2444 and we will begin investigating the details of your case so that an effective defense strategy can be developed, and your legal rights and freedom protected.