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Carjacking Lawyers and Carjacking Law in Orange County CA
If you have been arrested for carjacking, then you are going to have many questions. The team of attorneys at The Atias Law Group can go over the facts of your case and help you understand the possible outcomes, and possible strategies for successfully getting your case reduced or dismissed. Carjacking is essentially the “robbery of a vehicle”. “Robbery” implying taking something by force or the threat of force, and the vehicle or “car” being the item taken. Therefore, it is easiest to think of a carjacking as a robbery. The most plain and simple definition is when a person takes a vehicle from another person by force or the fear of force. It does not matter if the car belonged to the person from whom the car is taken. If you have been charged with Carjacking in Orange County for taking a vehicle from another person by force or fear, please contact our firm to schedule a free consultation regarding the arrest, charges and allegations. “Carjacking” as it is commonly known, is unfortunately a charge that can be misconstrued or alleged by the Police under a very wide variety of circumstances and facts that may not truly be a carjacking as defined by California State Law. The attorneys at The Atias Law Group know how to decipher and construe each element of that offense to make sure that zealous police officers and trumped up charges will not ultimately lead to a lengthier prison term or jail sentence than may be required, if any based ona case by case basis and the facts presented. Imagine that, rather than carjacking, the actual crime committed is “Joyriding” in a car, or “Grand Theft Auto” (stealing a car), and is not in fact “carjacking”. Our attorneys work hard to differentiate the fine details in order to help prove that simply because a police officer may have arrested you for that crime… it may not be the crime actually committed. I can not stress that point enough, just because you are charged with a certain offense does not mean that is the offense you may have committed. Let’s examine the actual statutory law, the possible reductions to other lesser offenses, the penalties and finally the full on legal defenses. The Law for Carjacking is set out in California Penal Code Section 215. In order for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office to prove that a defendant is guilty of Carjacking, the Prosecutor must prove that:
- The defendant took a motor vehicle that was not his own;
- The vehicle was taken from the immediate presence of a person who possessed the vehicle or was its passenger;
- The vehicle was taken against that person's will;
- The defendant used force or fear to take the vehicle or to prevent that person from resisting; AND
- When the defendant used force or fear to take the vehicle, he intended to deprive the other person of possession of the vehicle either temporarily or permanently.
How to Reduce a Carjacking to a Lesser ChargeCarjacking may be able to be reduced to a minor sentence in any number of ways, including:
- Believing you had the right to use the car, commonly known as consent.
- Not actually using fear or violence, for example you simply stole a car without the immediate presence of anyone to instill either fear in or force upon.
- Entering into and beginning anger management classes.
- Allowing your attorneys or other neutral third parties to obtain letters of forgiveness from the victims involved.
Penalties for Carjacking in Orange CountyCarjacking is always a felony, meaning that a conviction will result in lengthy county jail or state prison time. The crime is punishable by probation and up to one year in county jail, however it can also be punished by between three and nine years in prison. California’s great bodily injury enhancement imposes a three to six year prison sentence in addition to the penalty for a carjacking conviction. These penalties apply for each person that is in a vehicle at the time of the Carjacking. So if there are three people in the car, then you can receive three sentences. Additionally, Carjacking is a “strike” in California, pursuant to the three strikes law, which means that barring certain circumstances, the defendant will have to serve at least 85% of your sentence before you are eligible for parole. Enhancements to Carjacking Penalties that Could Require Longer Prison Terms
- Great bodily injury inflicted in the commission of the crime.
- Using a Gun to commit the offense.
- Carjacking for the benefit of a known street gang, known as a gang enhancement.
Defenses to Carjacking in Orange CountyThe Atias Law Group’s Defense team of skilled lawyers located in Orange County, CA have over 20 years combined experience, therefore we know the defenses that may help get your Carjacking charge dismissed. There are several defenses to Carjacking in Orange County, however the applicability of those defenses depends on the facts of your case.
- For instance, you may not have used force or fear to take the vehicle. If we can show that you took the vehicle without force or fear then we may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed.
- If you did not intend to take the vehicle before or during the time that force or fear was used, then we can fight the charges. We can show that their timeline does not make sense, then there is a good defense to a Carjacking charge.
- False Accusations alleged by the victim claiming her car was stolen, when it is a lie.
- Finally, the concept of a Witness’s Mistaken Identity of the Assailant, wherein the probability that an eyewitness recognizes their assailant is much lower than common person would believe. Carjacking is a very stressful and strenuous event, therefore our attorneys may be able to show that the victims facial recognition is not accurate.