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Carjacking Defined

 Carjacking is a robbery offense that specifically involves motor vehicles. Under Florida Statute Section 812.133, carjacking is committed when a person intentionally takes another’s motor vehicle through the use of force, violence, assault, or by inciting fear. The applicable penalties for carjacking increase when a weapon or firearm is used in the commission of the crime. If you or a loved one has been charged with carjacking, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Tallahassee.

Penalties for Carjacking

Carjacking is a level seven offense under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code. The offense severity ranking chart has ten offense levels, ranked from least to most severe. Each felony is assigned a level according to its severity and harm or potential harm to the community.

If convicted of carjacking, a judge can impose the following penalties:

  • If the offender carried a firearm or other deadly weapon, the carjacking is a felony of the first degree, punishable by imprisonment for a term of years not exceeding life imprisonment.
  • If the offender did not carry a firearm, deadly weapon, or other weapon, then the carjacking is a felony of the first degree, punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
  • Up to $10,000 in fines.

10/20/Life Firearm Enhancement

Under Florida Statute Section 775.087(2)(a)(1), a person convicted of possessing a firearm during the commission of a carjacking is subject to sentencing under Florida’s 10/20/Life statute. Under the 10/20/Life statute, a person convicted of carjacking can receive one of the following mandatory minimum sentences:

  • A minimum of 10 years imprisonment if in possession of a firearm.
  • A minimum of 20 years imprisonment if the firearm was discharged.
  • A minimum of 25 years imprisonment and not more than life imprisonment if the firearm was discharged and, because of the discharge, death or great bodily harm was inflicted upon any person.

Potential Sentencing Enhancements

A “Prison Releasee Reoffender” is a person who commits an enumerated offense, including carjacking, within three years after being released from a state correctional institution. A prison releasee reoffender also means any defendant who commits or attempts to commit an enumerated offense while serving a prison sentence or on escape status from a state correctional facility. If the state attorney determines that a defendant is a prison releasee reoffender, the state attorney may seek to have the court sentence the defendant as a prison releasee reoffender punishable by a term of imprisonment of 30 years or life depending on whether or not a weapon was involved in the carjacking. A person sentenced as a prison releasee reoffender will only be released by the expiration of their sentence and will not be eligible for parole, control release, or any form of early release.

A “Three-time violent felony offender” is a person who has previously been convicted of a felony as an adult two or more times and two or more of the convictions were for committing an enumerated offense, including carjacking. The court must impose a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment in this case. In the case of carjacking, the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment can be life if a weapon was involved or 30 years.

A “Violent Career Criminal” is a defendant who has been convicted as an adult three or more times for an enumerated offense, including carjacking, or the defendant has been incarcerated in a state or federal prison, or the primary felony offense for which the defendant is to be sentenced is an enumerated felony which was committed on or after October 1, 1995. When such findings are made, the court may sentence the carjacker for life.

Carjacking Defense Lawyer in Tallahassee

If you or a loved one has been charged with carjacking, it is important to contact a Tallahassee carjacking defense attorney early to explore your options. Don Pumphrey and the members of the legal team at Pumphrey Law Firm have years of experience and will fight to protect your legal rights and interests. Call a defense attorney today at (850) 681-7777 or send an online message to discuss your options during an open and free consultation with an attorney in our legal team.

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