Carjacking Charges – What You Need to Know
Being charged with carjacking can result in serious penalties, including revocation of your license and jail time. If you've been charged with carjacking, you must understand what you'll face during the trial and how legal counsel can assist with your case.
What are Carjacking Charges?
California defines the requirements for a conviction for carjacking in Penal Code 215. The prosecution must prove that:
- The defendant took a motor vehicle that they didn't already have
- The vehicle was taken from the immediate presence of another person who possessed the vehicle or was a passenger
- The vehicle was taken against the other person's will
- Force for fear was used to take the vehicle or stop resistance
- The person who allegedly took the vehicle intended to permanently deprive the original owner of its use
If any one of these stipulations cannot be proven, then you will likely be acquitted of all charges. A California criminal defense attorney can help ensure that outcome for your case.
It's also important to know that you cannot use force or fear to recover a car that you own from another person. In this case, you may still be accused of carjacking.
Penalties for Carjacking
The penalties for carjacking can vary dramatically because of the different circumstances that can accompany the main charges.
For example, if great bodily injury happens during a carjacking, the defendant may face penalties including up to six years in prison. These will serve as consecutive sentences to any penalties for the main carjacking charge.
In general, however, carjacking is treated as a felony and incurs the following possible penalties:
- Up to one year in county jail and/or probation
- Up to nine years in California state prison
- Up to $10,000 in fines
Defenses for Carjacking Charges
There are multiple common defenses your criminal defense attorney can use to help you avoid a conviction for carjacking charges.
No Force or Fear Was Used
If you took possession of a vehicle without the use of force or fear, there's no evidence that it was a carjacking as opposed to borrowing the vehicle for some period of time.
Consent Was Given
If someone gave you their permission to take a vehicle they owned or otherwise had possession of, then you cannot be charged with carjacking. This can also apply in cases when someone else is borrowing a car and you then borrow the same car from them.
It's always possible that you were falsely accused of carjacking when you were nowhere near the original scene of the crime. In such instances, you will be acquitted of all charges.
Contact a California Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you've been charged with carjacking, it's imperative that you contact the Law Office of Peter James Chambers as soon as possible. With our assistance, you will stand the best chance of being acquitted of all charges and getting back to your life. Contact us today and we can begin working on your case with a free consultation.