Tinder Date Gone Wrong – Armed Carjacking
December 18, 2022 Don Pumphrey, Jr. Criminal Defense, Theft/Property Crimes, Violent Crimes Social Share
In the state of Florida, carjackings are prosecuted harshly due to their violent nature. While many things can go wrong with a Tinder date— carjacking is not typically the first thing that comes to mind. However, in a recent Florida case, a woman has been arrested after being accused of planning to carjack her Tinder date.
This article will provide details from the case, along with information on carjacking in Florida.
What was the Incident?
Alexis Raianna Cardenas, 22, was arrested in St. Lucie County on a no-bond warrant after she allegedly planned a carjacking involving her Tinder date. According to the report, Cardenas met up with a man she scheduled a date with via the dating app Tinder on November 20th, 2022.
The two individuals met up at the Topgolf off the Golden Glades interchange. After hanging out in the parking lot for several minutes, Cardenas instructed her date to move and park his car at a nearby apartment complex.
The two remained in the vehicle after it was parked in the complex, and the victim claimed to have seen Cardenas texting someone on her phone. The victim left the car at one point to “urinate in the bushes,” and upon returning was “suddenly and immediately ambushed” by two men.
The two men were dressed in all black and forced the victim to the ground while holding him at gunpoint. The suspects forced the victim to unlock his phone, which they took along with his car.
After taking the victim’s phone, the two-armed men got into the vehicle with Cardenas and drove away. When the victim later reported the incident to the police, he claimed to have seen Cardenas smirking at him in the back seat of his vehicle.
The Second Crime Involving the Stolen Vehicle
On December 5th, the victim’s stolen vehicle was spotted by a Miami-Dade police robbery detective on Northwest 186th Street and 67th Avenue. Gabriel Gongora, 20, was driving the stolen Volkswagen Jetta.
When the detective tried to pull over the suspect in the stolen vehicle, Gongora shot at Deputy Ricaurte Lugo. The shooting resulted in a bullet getting lodged in Lugo’s face.
Gongora fled the scene and returned to his home in Haven Lakes Estates mobile park in Miramar. Police managed to find and arrest the suspect in his home shortly after the shooting.
After an investigation by the police, Cardenas was arrested and charged with armed carjacking and conspiracy to commit armed carjacking. Cardenas is being held without bond.
Carjacking Charges in Florida
Carjacking is defined under Florida Statute section 812.133 as the taking of a motor vehicle through the use of violence, force, assault, or putting in fear, from the person or property of another person, with the intention to either temporarily or permanently deprive the owner of the motor vehicle.
Carjacking is considered a first-degree felony in Florida, regardless of whether there was a weapon or firearm involved. This is due to the violent nature of carjackings, although, a person who commits this offense without the use of a weapon is likely to face less severe punishment.
A typical carjacking without a weapon is a Level 7 offense, meaning the penalties are severe even if it is the defendant’s first offense. The mandatory minimum sentence for a carjacking charge is 21 months in prison when the person did not use a firearm or weapon and no one was injured in the commission of the carjacking.
If the alleged carjacking involved a weapon, the penalties for the carjacking charge may be enhanced to a Level 9 offense. The mandatory minimum sentencing for a carjacking involving a weapon would be four years in prison imposed by the judge.
If the alleged carjacking involved a firearm or deadly weapon, the defendant may face the maximum penalties for a carjacking charge. The possible penalties for a carjacking involving a firearm or deadly weapon are up to life imprisonment, life probation, and/or the 10/20/Life Rule.
Florida’s 10/20/Life Rule
Florida’s 10/20/Life rule is applied to felony cases involving the use or attempted use of a deadly weapon. The law states the following:
- A minimum of ten years in prison for possessing a firearm;
- A minimum of twenty years in prison for discharging a firearm; and
- A minimum of 25 years in prison for the use of a firearm that resulted in bodily harm or the death of another person.
In a carjacking case, if the firearm used was a machine gun or assault weapon, then the penalties can be enhanced to fifteen years, twenty years, or 25 to life in prison.
Under Florida Statute 777.04(3), criminal conspiracy occurs when an individual agrees, conspires, combines, or confederates with another individual or multiple individuals to commit any criminal act. In other words, criminal conspiracy is committed when two or more people plan to commit a crime.
Criminal conspiracy is considered a derivative crime—meaning the penalties are determined by the underlying crime intended to be committed. For whatever penalty the committed crime has, the charge for criminal conspiracy is one level lower.
For example, a second-degree misdemeanor charge for criminal conspiracy would occur if the underlying crime were a first or second-degree misdemeanor. A person convicted of second-degree misdemeanor criminal conspiracy can face the penalties of up to a $500 fine, sixty days in jail, and up to six months of probation.
A first-degree misdemeanor charge for criminal conspiracy would occur if the underlying crime committed were a third-degree felony. A person convicted of first-degree misdemeanor criminal conspiracy can face the penalties of up to a $1,000 fine, up to one year in jail, and up to one year of probation.
A third-degree felony charge for criminal conspiracy would occur if the underlying crime committed were a second-degree felony. A person convicted of third-degree felony criminal conspiracy can face the penalties of up to a $5,000 fine, five years in prison, and up to five years of probation.
A second-degree felony charge for criminal conspiracy would occur if the underlying crime committed were a life or first-degree felony. A person convicted of second-degree felony criminal conspiracy can face the penalties of up to a $10,000 fine, fifteen years in prison, and up to fifteen years of probation. In addition, a judge may be required to impose a prison sentence absent grounds to a downward departure sentence.
A first-degree felony charge for criminal conspiracy would occur if the underlying crime committed were a capital felony. A person convicted of first-degree felony criminal conspiracy can face the penalties of up to a $10,000 fine, 30 years in prison, and up to 30 years of probation. In addition, a judge may be required to impose a prison sentence absent grounds to a downward departure sentence.
To learn more about Criminal Conspiracies, Attempts, and Solicitation, head to our informative page here.
Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida
Violent crimes such as carjacking are often harshly prosecuted in the state of Florida. This is especially true when the offense involves a weapon or firearm. If you or someone you love has been accused of carjacking, it is imperative to seek out legal help from a skilled Florida criminal defense lawyer.
Don Pumphrey and his team have years of experience representing clients across the state of Florida. Our attorneys will work by your side to build a strong defense for your case. We promise to stand in your corner and fight for your future. Contact Pumphrey Law Firm today for a free consultation regarding your case. Call us at (850) 681-7777 or leave us an online message on our website.
Written by Karissa Key