In the state of California, the crime of carjacking is not to be confused
with the criminal offense of
grand theft auto. Carjacking and grand theft auto are both theft-related offenses, but
are defined differently in the California Penal Code.
CPC § 215 defines carjacking as:
- A felony
- A crime that involves taking a motor vehicle away from someone's immediate presence
- A crime that is committed against the driver/passenger's will
- A crime committed with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of their vehicle
- A crime accomplished by means of force or fear
Anyone who is arrested, charged and convicted of carjacking can be sentenced
to a state prison term of three to nine years. In some instances, carjacking
can be charged as robbery, since robbery similarly is felonious taking
of someone from the immediate presence of a person. However, a person
cannot be charged with robbery
and carjacking for the same offense.
Grand theft is defined in § 487 of the CPC. This statute defines grand theft as:
- A felony
- A crime that involves taking a person's real property
- Real property taken must exceed $950
- A crime that is committed against the vehicle owner's will
Grand theft is punishable by a sentence in county jail not exceeding one
year. For those convicted of previous vehicle theft offenses, the jail
sentence will be greater. As you can tell, the major differences between
carjacking and grand theft are the use of force/fear and taking from the
driver/passenger's immediate presence.
If you have been arrested for carjacking, grand theft auto or a related
theft offense, please don't hesitate to
contact an Orange County criminal defense lawyer at The Law Offices of Virginia
L. Landry today for a free evaluation of your case!