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DAVID CLARK
Criminal Defense Attorney

Philadelphia Carjacking Lawyer

As defined by law, the crime of carjacking involves a theft of a motor vehicle and some use of force involving a threat. A person forcibly taking a motor vehicle from another while breaking into their car with the owner present on the scene is categorized as a carjacking/robbery.

Carjacking in Philadelphia is a theft with the force of a robbery, and the item being taken in the presence of the owner is a motor vehicle. It is graded as a felony of the first degree. An individual convicted of that charge alone could face as much as ten years in jail and a $25,0000 fine. Therefore, speaking with a Philadelphia carjacking lawyer regarding the charges against you could be critical when building a defense for theft of a car.

What is Joyriding?

There is no difference between carjacking and joyriding if at the time the individual took the vehicle from the owner while the owner was present on the scene. Joyriding is an expression of what has occurred after a vehicle was stolen, whether it be car theft without the carjacking charge, or carjacking robbery of a motor vehicle, joyriding occurs after the theft.

The Pennsylvania crime code does not have a specific charge for joyriding. It is what caused the joyriding that the courts look at. How was the vehicle was taken and who was present. If the owner was present, it is a carjacking. If the owner was not present, the crime is theft or receiving stolen property with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

Carjacking vs. Auto Theft

Auto theft is a theft of a motor vehicle where no individual is present at the time. For example, should a person park a vehicle outside their residence and while inside asleep, someone steals or attempts to steal that vehicle; the owner of the vehicle wakes up in the morning and realizes it is not there, that is theft of a motor vehicle.

It is often graded as theft, a felony of the third degree, as well as receiving stolen property, a felony of the third degree, coupled with the unauthorized use of a motor vehicle as a misdemeanor of the second degree. When dealing with carjacking, if the owner is present on site, which by itself connotes a form of aggression, the charge is now the robbery of a motor vehicle in the presence of the owner and is charged with carjacking in Philadelphia.

Common Charges Associated With a Carjacking Offense

In Philadelphia, when an individual is charged with carjacking or robbery of a motor vehicle, a number of other lesser included charges are also placed on a person’s complaint or criminal complaint.  Among them are the theft of a motor vehicle, which carries charges specific to the motor vehicle,  receiving stolen property, as well as unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

When coupled with any sort of violence, the theft charge is raised to a robbery charge, and should the action have occurred involving a motor vehicle while in the presence of the owner or an owner being threatened, the crime of carjacking may apply. Simply stated, theft with the combination of the threat and robbery of a motor vehicle in the presence of the owner is carjacking by definition in Philadelphia.

Carjacking Case Expectations

What a person should expect when calling a criminal defense attorney in Philadelphia and discussing a charge of carjacking or robbery of a motor vehicle is that it is one of the most serious charges treated by the courts in Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania. It is the type of charge that can often carry a minimum sentence of five to ten years and a $20,000 fine. It is graded as a felony of the first degree. It is at the top of the sentencing guideline charge when determining an appropriate sentence for a person convicted of such.

If a person is the focus of an investigation the or robbery of a motor vehicle also known as carjacking, it is essential they get the right representation at the right time. An individual does not want to lose the possibility of any defenses of video, audio or any other kinds of evidence that can be lost when the time has passed. Additionally, knowing details, determining where a person was, developing whether or not this is an alibi defense is also essential.

Considering Hiring an Attorney Following Carjacking Offense Accusations

When dealing with serious charges like carjacking, an individual should contact an experienced lawyer with the knowledge and skills of how to defend such a case. Having resources available such as investigators and social workers only ensures that the accused has every opportunity to be successful in their own defense.

A Philadelphia carjacking lawyer with these resources at hand is vital. The attorney chosen must be experienced and with enough office resources available to produce a proper defense. The staff may consist of social workers, investigators and individual paralegals to subpoena all necessary records as they become available. Any other footage whether it be audio or video can be obtained and reviewed early on in the case. Doing this ensures the person charged with carjacking has every possibility of a positive verdict.