Carjacking Law in California - Penal Code 215 PC
A carjacking under California Penal Code 215 is taking a vehicle from an individual while in the immediate presence of someone who possessed the automobile or from the passenger without their consent.
This is accomplished via force or threat to deprive 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 is involved in carjacking. Due to 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 force or fear – it includes the driver or passenger – and it 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 car.
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 element of the crime. If charged with carjacking, the aspects of the crime include the following:
- You took a vehicle that you didn't own
- The vehicle was taken in the immediate presence of the 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 of possession of the vehicle
A primary element of the crime 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 could keep possession and if they didn't use t used force or fear. California Penal Code 209.5 defines the related crime of kidnapping during a carjacking.
Contact Our Law Firm for Help
A defense lawyer can assist you in protecting your right as some critical defenses can be used to help you from being convicted. A specific criterion 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 significantly 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. 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.
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