Carjacking is covered by Florida Statute 812.133. Under that statute, carjacking is committed when a person intentionally and unlawfully takes another person’s motor vehicle using force, violence, assault, or threat. Note that the language is like the robbery statute, but it addresses a motor vehicle versus anybody or property. Our office has attorneys who are experienced at working on carjacking cases in Fort Lauderdale. As experienced theft attorneys practicing throughout South Florida, our Ft. Lauderdale carjacking lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert routinely handle all different types of criminal cases.
Carjacking vs. Auto Theft
The difference between carjacking and auto theft is the use of force or threat of force. Taking a car from someone’s driveway when nobody is around is auto theft. When an individual enters a vehicle with somebody is in it and they take the car by force or threat of force, that is carjacking.
The difference between carjacking and auto theft is the use of force or threat of force. Carjacking is when someone takes a car from a person by force. Joyriding is when an individual takes a car without the use of threat or force to have a good time. It is prosecuted under grand theft auto or any grand theft statute.
Consequences for Committing a Carjacking Offense
The maximum penalty of felony carjacking charges in Fort Lauderdale is up to 30 years in prison, and there is minimum mandatory sentencing. A carjacking case has a minimum mandatory sentence of 21 months. When a weapon is involved, the minimum mandatory jumps to 48 months. When a firearm is involved, that triggers the 10-20-Life statute. The maximum penalty is 30 years, the minimum is a 21-month minimum mandatory. The use of a firearm might trigger a ten-year mandatory sentence on the 10-20-Life law.
Potential Impact of Prior Criminal Convictions
As a Ft. Lauderdale carjacking lawyer knows, prior criminal convictions have a great impact on a person charged with carjacking. As with any felony case, a prosecutor is obligated per Florida law to prepare a sentencing guideline score sheet. Prior offenses can be more detrimental to a person than having no criminal history.
Points are assessed on their sentencing guideline score sheet and could be used to enhance the minimum penalty in the Florida sentencing guidelines. The lengthier an individual’s history, the more points they have, and the higher the presumptive minimum sentence is, based on the amount of points assessed against them on the sentencing guideline score sheet.
Defining Aggravated Elements of Carjacking
A weapons enhancement is an increased penalty. For example, if a person uses a weapon or firearm during the commission of carjacking, the penalties increase. A standard carjacking typically carries a minimum mandatory of 21 months in Florida State Prison, absent any grounds for downward departure. The maximum penalty is up to 30 years in state prison.
Expectations When Speaking to an Attorney
When a person calls a criminal lawyer’s office to discuss their carjacking charges, they should expect to discuss the facts and circumstances of their case in great detail. When a criminal lawyer offers a free consultation, they may give a client from 30 to 45 minutes to talk over the facts in their case and discuss representation.
If police reports are available, a Ft. Lauderdale carjacking lawyer may be able to pull those to review with their client. The individual should be prepared to share the mitigating facts and circumstances about who they are, what they do for a living, their family, and their standing in the community.