Carjacking typically involves stealing, or attempting to steal, a car from a stranger. However, a San Diego man was recently arrested after he attempted to carjack his own mother. Reports indicate that the man asked his mother to drive him from the Marina in downtown San Diego to the bank. During the trip, the man directed his mother to take less-traveled back roads.
When they were secluded, he forced the car into Park, removed the keys from the ignition, and exited the vehicle. He walked around to the driver’s side and attempted to forcibly remove his mother from the car. When she resisted, he threw the keys and ran. The man was subsequently found by police and arrested on suspicion of carjacking.
What is Carjacking?
In California, carjacking is actually a specific type of robbery. Robbery occurs when you use force or the threat of force to commit a theft directly from another person. This can involve taking property from another person’s body or taking property while in their immediate presence. Carjacking is essentially a robbery where the target is a vehicle.
Specifically, carjacking is defined in Penal Code 215 PC to mean “felonious taking of a motor vehicle in the possession of another, from his or her person or immediate presence, or from the person or immediate presence of a passenger of the motor vehicle, against his or her will and with the intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person in possession of the motor vehicle of his or her possession, accomplished by means of force or fear.”
In other words, carjacking is the crime of forcibly taking the vehicle from another person by using force, fear, or intimidation. You must intend to either permanently or temporarily deprive the owner possession of the vehicle.
What are the Penalties for Carjacking?
Carjacking is specifically defined as the “felonious taking” of a motor vehicle. As a result, carjacking is classified as a felony in California.
If you are convicted of carjacking in San Diego your criminal sentence may include:
- 3, 5, or 9 years in a California state prison, and
- $25,000 in criminal fines.
The penalties for carjacking can be aggravated in certain situations. The penalties may be more severe if you used a firearm, injured a victim, or committed the crime for the benefit of a criminal street gang.
Carjacking is classified as a “strike” offense in California. The state’s Three Strikes Law allows a judge to impose harsher criminal penalties if you have multiple convictions for strike offenses. If this is your second strike offense, the penalties for your crime can be doubled. If this is your third strike offense, you can be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
Defending Carjacking Charges in San Diego
When you face carjacking charges in San Diego you have the right to defend yourself. The best defense will help to explain, excuse, and/or justify your behavior. Other defenses can be used to cast doubt on your guilt and make it difficult for the state to build a persuasive case against you. Defenses that may be helpful in a carjacking case include:
- You didn’t intend to deprive the owner of the vehicle
- You mistakenly believed you had a right to take the car
- You are the lawful owner of the vehicle
- You had the owner’s consent
- You did not use force or fear to take the vehicle, and
- The victim’s fear was not reasonable.
If evidence is gathered in violation of your rights, you can also raise these violations in your defense. Your attorney will file a motion with the court to suppress any evidence that has been tainted by the state’s unlawful actions. Without this evidence, the prosecution may be forced to consider a plea or dismiss the charges in their entirety.
San Diego Criminal Defense Attorneys
Have you been arrested on suspicion of carjacking in San Diego? Contact the attorneys at the San Diego Criminal Law Center for help. We know that your future is on the line and will fight to protect your legal rights. It is important to act quickly, so do not hesitate to contact our office today. We will review your case, explain your rights, and outline what we believe is your best defense. We offer a free consultation, so do not hesitate to call us now.