Under California Penal Code Section 215, carjacking is defined as the felonious taking of a motor vehicle from another person against his or her will with the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the person of the vehicle, accomplished through the use of force or fear.
This crime involves many specific elements. Let’s examine those elements and what you need to know if you are accused of carjacking.
- Carjacking is a Felony Offense
Carjacking is always charged as a felony. If you are convicted of this serious felony offense, you face 3, 5 or 9 years in state prison.
- A Carjacking Conviction is a Strike
If you are convicted of a strike crime and you have one prior strike on your record, your sentence could double. If you are convicted of a third strike offense, you face 25 years to life in prison.
- Your Punishment Could Increase if You Used a Firearm
If you used a firearm during the commission of a carjacking or attempted carjacking, you face an additional one year in state prison. Three additional years in prison could be added to your sentence if the firearm was an assault weapon, machine gun or .50 BMG rifle. Up to three years could be added to your sentence if you used any other “deadly or dangerous” weapon.
- Force or Fear is Required to Convict You of Carjacking
To be convicted of carjacking, you must have used force or fear to prevent the alleged victim from resisting the taking of his or her vehicle. If you did not use force or fear, the you should not be convicted of carjacking.
- Stealing Car Keys Can Be Considered Carjacking
Could you be convicted of carjacking if you didn’t take a vehicle but you took someone’s car keys? Surprisingly, it does not matter if you actually took another person’s vehicle. If you used force or fear to obtain someone’s car keys with the intent of taking his or her car, you could be convicted of carjacking.
- The Distance You Took the Vehicle Doesn’t Matter
“Feloniously taking” someone else’s car is a requirement to convict you of carjacking. However, PC 215 does not require that you drove the car any significant distance. Any slight movement of the vehicle could be enough to convict you of carjacking.
Contact the Experienced Carjacking Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or someone you love has been accused of carjacking, you should speak to an experienced carjacking defense lawyer at Wallin & Klarich immediately. Our skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers have been successfully defending clients accused of serious criminal offenses such as carjacking for more than 35 years. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich carjacking attorney available near you no matter where you work or live.
Call our office today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.