attorney_benowits
DAVID CLARK
Criminal Defense Attorney

Bucks County Carjacking Lawyer

Carjacking by definition is merely a theft crime with an added threat of harm or physical harm actually occurring and the item that is actually being taken from one person to another is an automobile. Therefore, a robbery involving a forceful threat or forceful harm, and an automobile being taken in the process leads to the specific crime, under the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania crimes code, of carjacking.

Under no circumstances should an individual postpone when contacting a Bucks County carjacking lawyer or attempt to represent themselves in court. Carjacking is an extremely serious crime with extremely serious consequences and a person must take the initiative and reach out at the earliest possible time in obtaining an attorney so that their rights can be protected.

Elements of a Carjacking Charge

The elements of robbery with force as well as a theft or attempted theft come into play when an individual is accused of taking a motor vehicle by force. Carjacking is the most specific crime charge and additionally, the highest crime charge when it comes to computing a possible sentence. Therefore, if a person is under investigation for carjacking in Bucks County, it is essential that at the earliest possible time, he or she reaches out and obtains the services of an experienced Bucks County lawyer.

Common Carjacking Scenarios

In Bucks County, the most common type of carjacking occurrences involves an individual forcing someone out of their vehicle and then subsequently takes the vehicle. Cases usually involve stops at gas stations or short stops at highway rest-stops and in those cases, individuals or alleged defendants are waiting at those stops and upon an individual exiting the vehicle, the alleged defendant will take the vehicle under threat of harm and leave with the vehicle.

Thus, anytime a motor vehicle is stolen and the alleged victim is present, a carjacking is a likely charge based upon the elements required for robbery, theft, and theft of a motor vehicle. Additionally, many cases involve short stops at places such as supermarkets or big-box stores’ parking lots, in those cases an accused may stay in such parking lot, await their victim and upon the victim parking the vehicle, that is when the keys are taken, the individual is pushed to the side and the car is then taken from the scene.

Carjacking vs. Auto Theft

In Bucks County, carjacking is defined by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania crimes code as the unlawful taking of a motor vehicle by force of another with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle. There are three main charges that come into play when taking carjacking into account. The first is the object being taken is a motor vehicle; the second is the actual robbery with the use of physical force; and lastly the theft of taking the motor vehicle from one person by another with the intent to permanently deprive that person of it. Those three charges make up the charge of carjacking.

Additionally, theft of a motor vehicle can be charged as a felony and/or misdemeanor separately from carjacking. If the owner of the motor vehicle is not present at the time of the theft or force is not used to threaten the owner into giving up the vehicle, then the charge is simply theft of a motor vehicle. That charge is generally charged as a felony of the third degree and can carry a sentence up to 3 1/2 to 7 years incarceration and up to $15,000 fine.

If an individual takes a car and does what is otherwise called as a joy ride, as long as the owner of the car is not forcibly held or threatened or present at the time of the theft, then even a joy-riding incident can be charged simply as theft. However, if the owner of the vehicle is present at the time the car is stolen, even if the alleged defendant is unaware that the owner is present, the charge of carjacking graded as a felony of the first degree can be charged and under the right circumstances can be made out.

Prior Criminal Conviction

A person’s prior criminal history almost always impacts the charges of any serious crime whether a felony and/or misdemeanor. A person’s background effects which would otherwise be a prior record score. This means his or her prior context in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as well other states are graded by the sentencing guideline set forth by the Pennsylvania Sentencing Guideline Commission.

Different offenses carry certain points, for instance, a particular misdemeanor may carry one point once the person is convicted of such and more serious crimes such as carjacking and robbery carry up to four points. Therefore, should a person be charged with a second or subsequent carjacking charge, according to the sentencing guideline should they be convicted, will be astronomical in terms of points.

Those guidelines often translate to maximum sentences that can be imposed by law for multiple and subsequent convictions. Additionally, carjacking graded as a felony of the first degree is considered a first strike in Pennsylvania where the three strike law is applicable to such crimes.  Should a person be convicted of two subsequent carjacking crimes and accused of a third, the person could face as much as 25 to life imprisonment.

Therefore, it is essential when an individual is the subject of carjacking investigation to reach out and obtain the services of an experienced Bucks County carjacking attorney at the earliest possible time.

Contacting an Attorney

A carjacking charge is extremely serious. It is a violent crime that can result in large fines and long-term jail time. It is important to contact a Bucks County carjacking lawyer right away. Pleacontactect an experienced attorney today to help build a strong defense.