Understanding Carjacking Laws in Florida with an Experienced Orlando Attorney
Carjacking, as per Sec. 812.133, Florida Statutes, is a serious criminal offense in Florida. It involves the intentional seizure of someone else’s motor vehicle through force, violence, assault, or threats.
What are the Penalties for Carjacking in Florida?
Carjacking is a first-degree felony in Florida if you did not carry any type of weapon, punishable by up to 30 years of prison or probation, and a $10,000 fine.
|Type of Carjacking
|Carjacking Without a Weapon
||Severity level 7 (56 points)
||Up to 30 years of prison or probation, and a $10,000 fine
|Carjacking with a Firearm or Deadly Weapon
||Severity level 9 (92 points)
||Up to life imprisonment and a $10,000 fine
The charge carries a severity level of 7 (or 56 points) under the Criminal Punishment Code. Assuming there are no aggravating circumstances (such as prior criminal convictions), this translates to a minimum permissible sentence of 21 months in prison. The judge cannot impose a lesser sentence unless special circumstances exist for what is called a downward departure from the minimum sentence.
Defending a Carjacking Charge in Florida
Being charged with carjacking can be daunting, but with experienced legal representation, it is possible to mount a strong defense. Here are a few legal defense strategies that Leppard Law can employ to fight for a reduction or dismissal of charges:
- Claim of Right Defense: This defense applies if you held a good-faith belief that you were the rightful owner of the car, or were entitled to immediate possession of it.
- Afterthought Defense: You can argue that any force or threats were used for a different purpose and the taking of the car was an afterthought, therefore carjacking did not occur.
- Motion to Suppress: If evidence was obtained in violation of your constitutional rights, Leppard Law could move to suppress that evidence.
- Lack of Evidence: The defense team can challenge the State’s case if there is insufficient evidence supporting the charge.
- Alibi Defense: If you can provide evidence that you were elsewhere when the crime occurred, the alibi defense could be used.
What is the difference between carjacking and auto theft in Florida?
Carjacking involves the use of force, violence, assault, or threats, while auto theft is simply taking someone else’s vehicle without their permission.
Can I face carjacking charges if I believed I was the rightful owner of the vehicle?
If you can prove that you had a good-faith belief that you were the rightful owner or were entitled to immediate possession, it may be possible to use a Claim of Right defense.
How can an experienced attorney help in a carjacking case?
An experienced attorney can evaluate the facts of your case, advise you on the best course of action, and represent you in court. They can also work to get the charges reduced or even dismissed.
What if the evidence against me was obtained illegally?
If evidence was obtained in violation of your constitutional rights, your attorney can file a motion to suppress that evidence.
How does the severity level of a charge affect the punishment?
The severity level of a charge determines the minimum permissible sentence for a crime. A higher severity level indicates a more serious crime and results in a longer minimum sentence.
Carjacking Defense Attorney in Central Florida
At Leppard Law: Florida DUI Lawyers & Criminal Defense Attorneys PLLC, our Central Florida carjacking defense attorneys understand the gravity of these charges. We have a wealth of resources and a track record of successful outcomes in such cases. If you’re facing carjacking charges, don’t risk going it alone. Contact our offices now at 407-476-4111 for expert legal assistance.