Carjacking

Roughly 49,000 carjackings occur annually nationwide. A vast majority of these carjackings involve the use of a weapon of some sort, the most common of which being guns. Frequent targets of carjackers are tourists, distracted, and perceivably helpless individuals. Statistics show that those with their door unlocked or window open are also more likely to become a carjacking victim. With Orlando welcoming around 70 million tourists a year, the Greater Central Florida area is no stranger to carjacking crimes, but those charged should be aware that they too have legal options.

The Orlando carjacking lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm are well-versed criminal law attorneys who understand the severity of the charges you face. Our team of criminal defense lawyers have over 100 years of combined experience aiding the accused and can help settle your criminal case on the most favorable terms to you.

What is Carjacking in Florida?

F.S. 812.133 defines carjacking as:

“… the taking of a motor vehicle which may be the subject of larceny from the person or custody of another, with intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person or the owner of the motor vehicle, when in the course of the taking there is the use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear.”

This differs from a traditional grand theft auto charge since the vehicle is occupied at the time of the theft which is why penalties are intensified.

Florida Penalties for Carjacking

Carjacking is a felony in the first degree in Florida. This classification remains regardless of if the accused allegedly used a firearm or any other weapon to commit the crime. According to the Florida Criminal Punishment Code (CPC), carjacking without a weapon is a Level 7 security ranking which warrants the following:

  • Mandatory minimum 21-month prison sentence
  • Maximum 30-year prison sentence
  • Maximum 30-years of probation
  • Up to $10,000 in fines

When a weapon is used in the commission of a carjacking, however, it is upped to a Level 9 offense which warrants a mandatory minimum 48-month prison sentence. The CPC also identifies the points associated with each level and how they vary depending on if it is a primary or additional offense, if there was a victim injury, and if the accused has a prior record.

Defenses for Carjacking in Florida

For the prosecution to get a carjacking charge to stick, they must prove that the defendant:

  • Stole the vehicle from the custody of another
  • Had the intention of keeping or temporarily depriving it of the rightful owner
  • Used violence, assault, or threats to carry out the theft

If the prosecution cannot prove all of these elements, the carjacking charge will become irrelevant. As the defendant in the case, you have the right to secure legal representation to combat the presented charges.

A knowledgeable carjacking lawyer can present mistaken identity and false accusation as valid defenses. An example of the latter would be if prosecutors can only provide evidence that proves the defendant took the vehicle, but not the relevance of violence or threat of violence on another individual to gain possession of the vehicle. In such instances, the charge would be lessened to grand theft auto which can shave many years off a criminal sentence.

The Orlando carjacking lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm have experience as prosecutors on the state and local level which gives us insight as to how the opposition will approach a particular case. We can use our inside knowledge to your benefit through implementing proven-effective negotiation and defense strategies to have charges lessened or even dropped if possible. Contact us today at 407-228-3838 for a free case evaluation.