At Chambers Law Firm we work with clients who have been charged with various crimes involving vehicles. We are often asked: What is the difference between carjacking and grand theft auto? Keep reading to get an answer to that and other questions about carjacking. Then contact Chambers Law Firm at 855-397-0210 if you are in need of a free legal consultation.
What is the Definition of Carjacking?
In California, the legal definition of robbery is taking the property of another person by fear or force. If the property that was taken was a car, then it can be charged as carjacking. Note that the main difference between carjacking and grand theft auto is that carjacking involves, by definition, taking the vehicle by force or fear, while grand theft auto could involve stealing a car when the owner is not around.
What Must the Prosecution Prove to Prove the Charge?
For a conviction, the prosecution must be able to prove all of the following beyond a reasonable doubt: The person accused took a vehicle that did not belong to them, the vehicle as taken from the immediate presence of the owner or person who legally possessed the vehicle, the vehicle was taken against the will of the owner or possessor, that the alleged offender used force or fear to get the vehicle, and that when they did so, they did it with the intention of depriving the owner or possessor of the vehicle, whether temporarily or permanently.
What Charges Are Often Added to a Carjacking Charge?
There are some related offenses that are commonly charged along with carjacking. They include kidnapping during carjacking if someone was taken in the commission of the carjacking, grand theft auto, and robbery. One way your attorney may help you face these charges is to convince the prosecution to drop some of the additional charges.
What Are Defense Options Available?
Of course, the best defense option will depend on the specifics of your case. However, some of the most common defenses including showing that there was no threat or fear of force, that you had consent to use the vehicle, or that it is a case of mistaken identity.
What Are the Potential Penalties for Carjacking?
Carjacking is a felony that can come with up to nine years in prison. Further, a person can be charged with one count of carjacking for every person that was in the vehicle when the carjacking occurred. If anyone suffered great bodily injury, another six years could be added to the prison sentence. Ten years in prison is likely if a gun was involved, 20 years if that gun was fired, and life in prison if someone died.
If you have been charged with carjacking, it is essential to get help from an experienced criminal defense attorney. You can contact Chambers Law Firm at 855-397-0210 now to request your free legal consultation.