At least two people were recently arrested for their role in a San Diego carjacking. The carjacking reportedly occurred in early October. Reports indicate that individuals who were arrested approached a woman who was sitting her car on Rollins Way in Vista around 5 AM. The pair showed her a knife, threatened her, and demanded that she get out of the vehicle. The woman resisted and sustained significant injuries in the struggle. When the woman was subdued, the alleged carjackers got into her car and drove away. Police found the woman’s vehicle at a nearby gas station later that evening. A police search, which included patrol dogs, led to the discovery of the carjackers and their associates.
What is carjacking?
Carjacking is basically a type of robbery. California Penal Code Section 215 PC defines the crime of carjacking as “the 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 simpler terms, carjacking is the crime of:
- Taking a car from the immediate presence of another person;
- Without that person’s consent;
- Using force, fear, or intimidation;
- With the intent to deprive that person of the vehicle, temporarily or permanently.
In order for the Vista carjackers to be convicted, the prosecution will be required to prove that they are guilty of each element of the crime. The report about the carjacking appears to provide all of the information that is necessary to establish these elements. The pair of carjackers
- Approached the victim;
- Displayed a weapon to intimidate her;
- Forcibly removed her from the car;
- Took the vehicle from her possession; and
- Did so with the intent to deprive her of its use.
If the information provided in the report is true, the San Diego carjackers will likely be convicted for the felony of carjacking.
What are the penalties for carjacking?
Carjacking is a felony in San Diego. A conviction for felony carjacking in San Diego can be punished by either:
- One year in a San Diego County jail and a term of probation, or
- Three, five, or nine years in a California state prison and a fine of $10,000.
Carjacking charges will apply for each victim who is present at the scene of the crime. This means that a person who forcibly takes a vehicle from a driver who has two passengers, the carjacker could face three counts of carjacking.
When can the penalties for carjacking be enhanced?
The penalties associated with carjacking in San Diego can be more severe. There are certain situations and circumstances that will cause the penalties to be enhanced. Most of these situations will occur when a carjacker has an existing criminal record.
- Great Bodily Injury. If a victim of a carjacking suffers great bodily injury, the possible term of imprisonment can be extended by three to six years.
- Use of a Firearm. In San Diego, if you use a firearm to commit a crime the penalties for the crime you commit can be enhanced. Under the 10-20-Life law, you could face an additional 10 years for using a firearm, 15 years for discharging a firearm, or 25 years-to-life for causing death or serious bodily harm with a firearm.
- Three Strikes. Carjacking will count as a strike for the purposes of California’s Three Strikes Law. This can result in sentence enhancements that include a requirement to complete 85% of your prison sentence and additional terms of imprisonment of 25 years-to-life.
Fighting Carjacking Charges in San Diego
The best way to limit the consequences of an arrest for carjacking is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to handle your case. A criminal conviction for felony carjacking can change your life forever. Hiring an attorney will increase your chances of getting the best possible resolution to your criminal case. Contact the San Diego Criminal Law Center to learn about how our carjacking attorneys may be able to help you today.