Carjacking is a violent crime that involves taking a motor vehicle from another person by force, fear or intimidation.
This offense is considered a “strike” under California’s Three Strikes Law, meaning the penalties can be especially harsh for repeat offenders. If you have been accused of carjacking, it is crucial that you consult with a qualified and experienced attorney as soon as possible. The right legal representation can mean the difference between a lengthy prison sentence and a favorable outcome for your case.
With more than 30 years of experience in criminal defense, Attorney Robert M. Helfend is here to help. If you’ve been accused of carjacking, don’t hesitate to call us for a free case review at 800-834-6434.
What are California’s Carjacking Laws?
In California, carjacking is governed by Penal Code § 215 PC, which states that any person who:
- Feloniously takes a motor vehicle from the immediate presence of another,
- Against their will, and
- With the intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person of the vehicle,
Is guilty of carjacking. The crime of carjacking is unique in that it focuses on the act of taking the vehicle, rather than the vehicle’s value or the intent to steal it.
Penalties for a Carjacking Conviction
A conviction for carjacking under California law carries significant penalties, including:
- A prison sentence of three, five, or nine years in California state prison. The sentence can be increased if the carjacking involved the use of a weapon or resulted in great bodily injury.
- Fines of up to $10,000.
- A “Strike” under California’s Three Strikes Law. A carjacking conviction is considered a “strike” under California’s Three Strikes Law, which means that if you have a prior strike on your record, the penalties for a subsequent carjacking conviction can be significantly more severe.
- Restitution to the victim. If convicted of carjacking, you may be ordered to pay restitution to the victim for any damages or losses they suffered as a result of the crime.
Defenses Against Carjacking Charges
There are several potential defenses to carjacking charges that an experienced attorney like Robert M. Helfend can explore on your behalf. Some of these defenses include:
- Mistaken identity: If you can prove that you were not the person who committed the carjacking, you may be able to have the charges dismissed.
- Lack of intent: If you can show that you did not have the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the vehicle owner of their vehicle, you may have a valid defense against carjacking charges.
- Consent: If the vehicle owner consented to you taking the vehicle, you may be able to argue that you did not commit carjacking.
- Insufficient evidence: If the prosecution does not have enough evidence to prove that you committed
Have you been accused of carjacking in Los Angeles? If so, you need a skilled and experienced attorney to defend your rights and protect your future. Don’t hesitate to call us for a free case review at 800-834-6434.