Carjacking Law in California - Penal Code 215 PC
California Penal Code section 215 makes it a crime to take a vehicle from another person by the use of force or fear. Carjacking is a felony is California and can result in up to 9 years in prison and a strike under the California Three Strikes Law, as it is considered a violent felony. This also means that one must serve at least 85% of his or her sentence to be eligible for parole.
If the defendant or an accomplice accidentally or unintentionally kills another person during the commission of the crime of carjacking, the defendant will be held responsible for first-degree murder.
Penalties may also increase if a person was injured; if a gun was used; if the offense is gang-related; or if a kidnapping occurred.
As criminal defense attorneys in Los Angeles, we do everything we can to avoid such harsh penalties. Our duty to our clients is to thoroughly look at the charges and do our best to assert any and all applicable defenses on their behalf.
Crimes associated with this theft crime are robbery, grand theft auto, joyriding/auto theft, auto burglary, kidnapping, battery – all of which the prosecutors may charge a defendant in addition to carjacking, depending on the circumstances.
Common defenses are consent to have possession of the car, mistaken identity, and the fact that our client may not even have used force or fear.
How to Get the Best Result in a Carjacking Case?
Those people who are charged with PC 215 carjacking are looking around the internet and making phone calls to figure out how to get the best result.
The first thing you want to do is decide how you will handle the case. In other words, will you fight it, take it to a jury trial, and try and win, or is it a situation where the prosecutors and police have managed to get the evidence against you?
You must take a different approach, try to mitigate the situation and work out a deal with the prosecutors and judge in the criminal case.
To make this decision on what you're going to do, you're going to want to sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney who has handled carjacking cases, knows what type of results make sense – not just for a carjacking case, but also for a case in the jurisdiction and courthouse where your case is pending.
What I have you do is, you come in, we sit down and go over the facts of the case and decide on whether it's the type of case that should be fought or negotiated. Once we make that decision, we'll start putting the puzzle pieces in place. If we decide to fight the case, we want to:
- do an investigation,
- set the case up for a trial,
- go over the pros and cons of trying the case,
- what will the prosecutors present as evidence?
- what can we present as a defense theory to defend the case?
If we decide to negotiate the case, we will have you get character letters talking about the type of person you are and how long the person has known you.
We can get those from family members or somebody from the church, or if you did volunteer work or if you have a job – these are all areas where we want to show the prosecutor that you're not the type of person who is dangerous and takes other people's property.
Carjacking is a severe case. It is a robbery, but it involves a car. That's why they've carved out specific Penal Code 215 PC. So, if you or a loved one is charged with carjacking and you're figuring out how to defend it and the best course of action, you've come to the right place.
I have a well-rounded view of how to handle these cases and what the right moves are for you or your loved one. So pick up the phone now. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. I stand at the ready to help you.