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Carjacking is the forceful taking of an automobile from another person against his or her will.

Below are six things that all San Diego residents need to know about this crime.


1) Force or fear is required for conviction – In order to be convicted of carjacking, an individual must have used force or fear to obtain possession of a vehicle.


2) Carjacking is a felony – A carjacking conviction will result in a felony, and offenders can face up to nine years in prison.

Up to three years in prison can be added to a sentence for carjacking

3) A carjacking conviction is a strike under California’s Three Strikes law – A carjacking conviction results in a strike under California’s Three Strikes. Under this law, if an individual is convicted of a strike crime and has a prior strike, his or her sentence can double. And if an individual is convicted of a third strike offense, he or she faces 25 years to life in prison.


4) If a firearm is used in a carjacking, the punishment increases If an individual uses a firearm during a carjacking or an attempted carjacking, then he or she can face an additional year in state prison. And if the weapon used was an assault weapon, the offender can face an additional year in prison. Up to three years in prison can be added to a sentence for carjacking if any other deadly or dangerous weapon was used during the commission of the crime.


5) The theft of car keys can be charged as carjacking Surprisingly, forcefully taking someone’s car keys without actually taking their car can result in a carjacking charge. As long as force or fear is used to obtain the keys with the intention of taking the victim’s car, then the perpetrator can be charged with carjacking.


6) It doesn’t matter how far the vehicle is taken – Feloniously taking someone else’s car is required for a carjacking charge. However, there is no specific distance requirement. A movement of even a few feet can potentially result in a carjacking charge.


San Diego Criminal Defense Attorneys


Due to the potential consequences involved, it is important that anyone charged with carjacking in San Diego, California, seek the guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. At the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, our experienced criminal defense attorneys provide all of our clients with expert legal guidance in order to achieve the most favorable results possible in carjacking cases. The talent and experience of our San Diego, California, attorneys ensure that our clients’ carjacking cases are handled expertly and with the utmost care. If you or a loved one is facing carjacking charges in California, please contact us immediately for a free consultation.

Author Photo

Kerry L. Armstrong

Attorney Kerry Armstrong opened up his law firm, the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, in June 2007. Prior to that, he was employed as the senior associate attorney for a large criminal defense firm in San Diego for nine years, eventually being placed in charge of that firm’s branch office in downtown San Diego. At one point, he was managing six attorneys at that firm, as well as several support staff and law clerks. In 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 Mr. Armstrong was selected for inclusion in the California Super Lawyers list, an honor only awarded to 5% of the nation’s attorneys. In 2017, he was also selected for the Super Lawyers Top 50 in San Diego list. In 2014, he was selected as a Top Attorney by Los Angeles Magazine. Additionally, Mr. Armstrong was also named as a Top Attorney by the San Diego Business Journal in 2014.

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