Los Angeles Carjacking Lawyer – CPC 215
Carjacking is a serious crime in California; in fact, it has been codified in statute under California Penal Code Section 215. The essence of carjacking is that the defendant is accused of taking a car from another person by means of force or fear. Your West Covina criminal lawyer will tell you that it does not matter whether the person in the car is the driver or a passenger or even if someone other than those individuals own the car; if you use force or fear to take control of the car, you may be convicted of the crime of carjacking.
What are the penalties if I am convicted?
A violation of Section 215 is a felony. This means that you may be subject to:
- probation and up to one year in county jail;
- either three, five, or nine years in state prison; and
- a fine of up to a $10,000. It is important to realize theses penalties apply for each victim who is present in the car at the time of the carjacking.
Keep in mind that additional sentence enhancements may apply if you:
- Injured a victim;
- Used a gun;
- Committed the offense for the benefit of a gang; or
- Kidnapped an individual during the carjacking.
What are the legal defenses to carjacking?
Each defense is unique to each case and is primarily dependent upon the individualized facts pertaining to your situation, but your West Covina criminal lawyer may be able to mount an affirmative defense upon the following grounds:
- you did not use force or fear;
- the occupants of the car consented; or
- you were mistakenly identified as the perpetrator.
Prosecutors tend to “up-charge,” meaning you may face both multiple and very serious charges. In addition, depending on your record, three-strike consequences may be involved.
It is important to begin a criminal defense early and vigorously. Daniel Cota, a dedicated and experienced West Covina criminal lawyer, can explain the penalties you may face and the best options for your situation. To schedule a free initial consultation with Mr. Cota, please do not hesitate to call (800) 351-6860.