A Philadelphia man was recently convicted to 11 years in prison for carjacking and armed robbery in the city. The sentence may seem harsh, but it is actually fairly light considering it is for two charges with carjacking being just one. In Pennsylvania, a conviction for carjacking alone can means decades spent in prison and other long-term consequences.
What is Carjacking in Pennsylvania?
Carjacking occurs any time a vehicle is taken with the owner present and even the smallest amount of force is used, or a threat of force is made. Additionally, someone may feel as though they have the owner’s permission to take a vehicle, but the owner is present and disagrees. If the individual who feels they have permission takes the vehicle anyway, that could also be considered carjacking if the owner filed a criminal complaint.
Penalties for Carjacking in Pennsylvania
Carjacking is a very serious crime in Pennsylvania. Sentences usually start at five years and a $10,000 fine, but they can go up to 20 years in prison and a maximum $25,000 fine. These penalties also only apply to the carjacking crime.
Given the very nature of carjacking, there are also other criminal charges that could apply. These include theft, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, receiving stolen property, and assault. When additional charges are brought and a person is convicted of them, it could result in as many as 30, 40, or even 50 years in prison. As in the recent story, a person may also face several years of supervised release even after they serve their time in prison.
Long-Term Consequences of a Carjacking Conviction
The immediate sentences imposed for a carjacking conviction are harsh. Unfortunately, the consequences do not end there. Carjacking is a theft crime, which means a conviction will impact a person’s reputation, and perhaps even their ability to find employment or housing. Landlords and employers often conduct background checks on people they are considering hiring, or renting a home to. Theft and violent crimes are some of the biggest warning signs on a background check, and carjacking involves both, so a conviction can make life very difficult.
How a Prior Conviction will Affect the Sentence
In any criminal case in Pennsylvania, a prior conviction will greatly impact a carjacking sentence. Individuals who have a previous conviction are considered aggregated, which means their past conviction can increase the sentence they receive for carjacking. Sometimes, a sentence can be increased by up to ten years and fines up to $25,000 per charge.
Our Criminal Defense Lawyer in Philadelphia Can Help with Carjacking Charges
Carjacking is a very serious offense that will result in very harsh consequences. At van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim, our Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers will create a strong defense against the charges to give you the best chance of retaining your freedom. Call us now at 215-515-6892 or contact us online to request a consultation with an experienced attorney and to learn more about how we can help.