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Carjacking Laws & Defense

Penal Code 215(a)

Information on the crime of carjacking is found at California Penal Code Section 215(a). To prove that the defendant is guilty of carjacking, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant:

  • Took a motor vehicle that was not their own
  • Took the vehicle in the presence of a person who possessed the vehicle
  • Took the vehicle against that person’s will
  • Used force or fear to take the vehicle or to stop the person from resisting
  • When the defendant used force or fear to take the vehicle he intended to not return the vehicle

Sentence for PC 215(a): Carjacking:

Carjacking  (Penal Code 215(a)), is charged as a felony. If the defendant is found guilty of the crime of carjacking he or she could face up to nine years in prison.

PC 215(a) is considered a serious and violent crime as those terms are described in the penal code. If found guilty of PC 215 the defendant will serve at least 85%  of his or her sentence, even with good time behavior factored in. Carjacking is considered a strike offense under California's Three Strike Law and Sentencing.

In some cases of carjacking it might be possible to reduce the sentence or reduce the charge, or both. In some PC 215(a) cases the defendant might receive a probation sentence if found guilty. The availability of any defense, or reduction of sentence, largely depends on the uniquie facts of the case and the defendant's criminal history.

In addition to any jail or prison sentence, a criminal conviction for carjacking (PC 215(a) can lead to other severe consequences such as: Immigration issues (for non-U.S. citizens), fines, probation, lawsuits, employment loss, restraining order, and more.

Defenses to PC 215(a): Carjacking

Every PC 215(a) case is different; therefore, every defense to a PC 215(a) case is different. However, there are some common defenses that appear in many carjacking cases. These defenses include: Statute of Limiations, Mistake of Fact, Claim of Right, Necessity, Intoxication, Insanity, and Insufficient Evidence.

If you have been charged with carjacking, or Penal Code 215(a), contact our criminal defense lawyers today to learn your rights and options without delay.

Important: A suspect tallking to the police before talking to an experienced criminal defense attorney is almost always a huge mistake that leads to incriminating statements against the suspect.

To learn more about the crime of carjacking and defenses to penal code 215(a), contact the experienced criminal defense lawyers at Dorado & Dorado, APLC, today for a free consultations.


Closely Related Crimes to PC 215(a)

  • Attempted carjacking PC 663 & 664/215(a)
  • Robbery PC 211
  • Attempted Robbery PC 664/211
  • Grand Theft Auto (GTA) PC 487(d)
  • Unauthorized use of vehicle VC 10851(a)

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California Carjacking Laws & Defense PC 215


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