Florida, as a state that joined the United States late in its life, and that was fully developed even later, is a state that is defined by automobiles. Ask anyone from Florida how often they take the train or public transit and they will laugh in your face. Public transportation in Florida is practically nonexistent and the public transportation options that are available are often unreliable. Because Floridians rely so heavily on automobiles, crimes involving cars and other forms of transportation are exceedingly common in our state. And because automobiles are so critical to the day to day lives of Florida’s citizenry, crimes involving cars are often punished more seriously than other types of offenses.
One of the more serious automobile related offenses is carjacking. Carjacking is criminalized under Florida Statute 812.133. The statute defines carjacking as “the taking of a motor vehicle from the person or custody of another, with intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person or owner of the motor vehicle, when in the course of the taking there is the use of force, assault, violence or fear.” Carjacking is essentially the equivalent of robbery any time the object of the robbery is a motor vehicle. Anyone charged with a carjacking offense is facing potentially serious penalties and should not hesitate to immediately retain a dedicated Clearwater criminal defense lawyer.Elements of Carjacking
Many criminal offenses are confusing in nature and in definition. Often, the title of a criminal offense—such as burglary—will not line up with what is commonly associated with the crime in popular culture. Carjacking does not suffer from that problem. It is what you think it is. Carjacking is the forcible theft of a vehicle while its owner is operating or present within the vehicle. What separates carjacking from a simple grand theft auto is the additional element of force, violence, or fear. The additional force elements elevate a simple theft into a much more serious crime of violence that carries much more severe penalties upon a conviction.
Carjacking in its most basic level is a first degree felony. First degree felonies are punishable by a maximum term of 30 years in prison. Even a first time offense for carjacking could result in mandatory prison time and an adjudication of guilt which stays on your record forever. Carjacking offenses get even more serious when there are weapons involved. If, during the course of a carjacking the defendant is found to be in possession of a firearm or other deadly weapon, the offense is upgraded to a life felony. This means that there is no maximum sentence and a judge can sentence you to life upon a conviction. When a person is charged with a punishable by life offense, it also limits his or her ability to make bail or secure release onto pretrial release. Because of the seriousness of this offense, anyone charged in a carjacking case should seek out a dedicated Clearwater criminal lawyer right away.Speak to Our Lawyers Today
The attorneys at Hanlon Law have years of experience defending the rights of clients charged with serious criminal offenses throughout the State of Florida. We pride ourselves on the fact that we consistently choose to go above and beyond for our clients. Where other lawyers would choose to take the easy plea deal, we discuss all of the options with our clients and encourage them to pursue the results that will make them the most happy and that will best protect their futures. Don’t take the easy path, speak with dedicated Clearwater criminal defense lawyers about what we can do for you and your case. For a consultation, call us today at 727-897-5413.