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Is Carjacking A Felony Offense In Florida?


Carjacking is one of the most serious criminal charges in Florida. It is classified as a violent theft offense. This raises an important question: Is carjacking a felony offense in Florida? The answer is a clear and unequivocal “yes”—indeed, it is an especially serious felony. Here, our Orlando criminal defense attorney provides a detailed explanation of carjacking charges in Florida.

Carjacking: Defined

In Florida, carjacking is defined broadly as “the taking of a motor vehicle which may be the subject of larceny from the person or custody of another, with intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person or the owner of the motor vehicle.” To qualify as carjacking, the offending act must be carried out with the use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear. Under Florida Statutes § 812.133, carjacking is a serious felony offense.

An Overview of Carjacking Penalties in Florida 

In Florida, the penalties for carjacking are severe. If carried out without a weapon, the offense is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in state prison. When a weapon is used, the crime escalates to a life felony, potentially leading to life imprisonment. A person convicted of carjacking in Florida could also face serious fines. 

You Have the Right to Defend Yourself Against a Carjacking Charge 

A carjacking charge is an allegation. No matter the seriousness of the offense, you have the right to raise a zealous and aggressive defense. Here is an overview of some of the most common legal defense strategies for carjacking charges in Florida:

  • Mistaken Identity: One of the most common defenses to any criminal charge is mistaken identity. For the most part, carjackings are offenses that occur quickly and in high-stress situations. As such, the identification is unreliable. If you can show that the identification by the witness was flawed—for example, you may have an alibi for the time of the carjacking offense—you could be able to successfully defend the charge.
  • Insufficient Evidence: As with any other type of criminal charge, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. It is their job to show that you committed the crime in question—carjacking—beyond a reasonable doubt. If the evidence against you is weak, you may argue that there is insufficient evidence to justify the carjacking charge.
  • Lack of Fear or Force: The crime of carjacking requires the use of force, violence, or instilling fear in the victim. If you can demonstrate that the vehicle was taken without these required elements, you may be able to prove that the prosecutors overcharged the case.
  • Plea Agreement: In some cases, negotiating a plea agreement might be the best strategy. If the evidence against you is substantial, entering into a plea deal might result in reduced charges with lesser penalties. 

Contact Our Orlando, FL Carjacking Defense Attorney Today

At The Baez Law Firm, our Orlando felony defense lawyer has the skills and expertise to take on all types of carjacking charges. If you or your loved one was arrested for carjacking, we are more than ready to help. Contact our criminal defense team today for a confidential initial appointment. From our law office in Orlando, we defend felony criminal charges all across Central Florida.


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