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Carjacking Law in California - Penal Code 215 PC

A carjacking under California Penal Code 215 is the taking of a vehicle from an individual while in the immediate presence of someone who possessed the automobile or from the passenger without his or her consent.

This is accomplished via force or threat with the intention of depriving the other person of the vehicle permanently or temporarily. California has one of the strictest penal codes on carjacking in the nation and it is considered a serious violent crime offense. If convicted of this crime you can receive up to nine years in jail.

The penalty can be increased if a weapon was involved in the carjacking. Due to a carjacking being a “serious felony” in California it will accompany a “strike” under the California Three Strikes law if you are convicted.

If you are being charged with carjacking in Los Angeles you should contact our criminal defense lawyers at Cron, Israel and Stark as soon as you can.

What is Carjacking?

Carjacking under PC 215 is a crime of taking someone's vehicle from their immediate presence through the use of force or fear – it includes the driver or passenger – and doesn't matter if they own the car. You can be charged with carjacking if you forcibly take a vehicle from another person. In basic terms, carjacking is a robbery that involves a vehicle.

If you are accused of a crime in Los Angeles, the prosecutor has the burden of proving that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. They have to prove every elements of the crime. If charged with carjacking, the elements of the crime include the following:

  • You took a vehicle that you didn't own
  • The vehicle was taken in the immediate presence of driver or passenger
  • The vehicle was taken against their will
  • You used force or fear to take the vehicle
  • Your intent was to deprive them from possession of the vehicle

A primary element of the crimes is that the vehicle was taken from the immediate presence of someone else. Under California law, a vehicle is considered within a person's immediate presence if  they had sufficient control and able to keep possession and if you didn't use t used force or fear. California Penal Code 209.5 defines the related crime of kidnapping during carjacking.

Contact Our Law Firm for Help

A defense lawyer can assist you in protecting your right as there are some critical defenses that can be used to help you from being convicted. There is a specific criterion that has to be proven to convict and incarcerate anyone of a carjacking and having an experienced lawyer on your side is a must.

Understanding how to interact with the judge, prosecutors and investigators can greatly increase your ability to negotiate a reduction in charges.

If you or a loved one is facing a carjacking charge, we understand that it can cause confusion, stress and anxiety regarding what to do. We know that it is a difficult time and we are here to help you through the process and help you understand your options.

We have over 100 years of combined experience with many cases such as yours and our competent criminal defense lawyers want to help you bring about the best possible resolution to your case. Contact our office today for a free initial consultation.

Contact Us Today

Cron, Israels & Stark is committed to answering your questions about All Misdemeanor and Felony Crime law issues in Santa Monica and Los Angeles, California.

We offer a free consultation and we'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.