Ventura Criminal Justice Attorney
Carjacking Defense Lawyer Serving Ventura County
Carjacking is a serious offense in California, punishable by heavy fines and lengthy prison terms. Carjacking may be considered a violent crime, triggering additional punishments for defendants with a criminal history as well as potential additional consequences beyond criminal penalties. A carjacking conviction can be a permanent stain on a person’s record, affecting gun rights, parental rights, employment opportunities, living situations, immigration status, and future criminal liability.
If you have been arrested for or charged with carjacking in Ventura county, reach out to criminal defense attorney Paul Tyler for help. A dedicated criminal defense attorney may be able to get your charges reduced, your sentence lowered, or even have your case thrown out entirely. Mr. Tyler will provide advice and representation, fighting for your rights and sticking by your side from arrest through plea negotiation, trial, and beyond, as necessary given the nature and circumstances of the case.
California’s carjacking law is codified at Penal Code section 215. Carjacking is defined as the felonious taking of a motor vehicle while it is in the possession of another, from his/her person or immediate presence or in the presence of a passenger, against the person’s will, and with the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the person of possession of the vehicle. The taking must be committed through force or fear.
Carjacking is very similar to robbery, in that they are theft offenses that must be committed while the victim is directly nearby and must be accomplished through means of force or fear. For that reason, carjacking is generally considered a violent crime. Neither carjacking nor robbery is considered a lesser included offense of the other, meaning that both may be charged separately. However, a defendant cannot be convicted of both carjacking and robbery for the same act. Your qualified criminal defense attorney will ensure that your rights are not violated by an unjust double-conviction for the same act.
Punishments for Carjacking
Carjacking is a felony in California. Depending on the circumstances and the criminal history of the defendant, the crime is punishable by incarceration in state prison for 3, 5, or 9 years. You may face even more time if you injure the victim, use a gun, commit the offense for the benefit of a gang, or kidnap someone while committing a carjacking.
Moreover, carjacking constitutes a “strike” under California’s three strikes law. That means that you must serve at least 85 percent of your sentence before you are eligible for parole, and your sentence may be doubled or tripled depending on your prior criminal history.
Defending Against Carjacking Charges
There are a variety of defenses that may be available in a carjacking case. The most common defenses are that the defendant is simply the victim of mistaken identity, i.e., that someone else was the actual culprit, or that the offense was not committed via “force or fear.” If you did not use any violence or threat of violence, then you may not have reasonably caused any “fear” to your victim.
If, for example, you simply broke into a car and drove off with it, without using force or fear against the owner or a passenger, then you are not guilty of carjacking. Instead, you may face a lesser, related charge, significantly cutting down on the likelihood and length of a prison sentence. If the person consented to your taking the car without you using any force or fear and then changed their mind later, or if you reasonably believed that the car actually belonged to you, then you may not be guilty of carjacking.
Notably, unlike other theft offenses in California, you do not need to intend to deprive the owner “permanently” of their vehicle to be convicted of carjacking. You may be guilty of carjacking regardless of whether you merely intended to “borrow” the car, sell it, or keep it for yourself.
Dedicated Service to Clients in Ventura County
Attorney Paul Tyler practices almost exclusively in Ventura County, California. Therefore, he knows ALL of the prosecutors and ALL of the judges who may handle your case in that County. He understands how to defend against carjacking charges and will thoroughly review all of the evidence in your case to develop a strong defense. Sometimes it is best to fight the case, while other times it is best to work out a favorable disposition to secure the minimum possible penalties.
Mr. Tyler will work with you to build your strongest defense and will ensure that the prosecutor has their work cut out for them. You will not be bullied or railroaded into taking an unfair plea deal. Mr. Tyler will advise you throughout the process, help you consider your options, and work with you to secure the best outcome available.
Call Criminal Defense Attorney Paul Tyler After a Ventura Arrest
If you are facing carjacking charges in Southern California, please call carjacking defense lawyer Paul Tyler at 805-889-9000. Mr. Tyler, a seasoned and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney serving California clients, will answer your call personally and attend to your case thoroughly, professionally, and with a dedicated effort tailored to your circumstances and needs. You will not be required to go through a secretary, paralegal or associate attorney. Call today for a free consultation.