Carjacking in Florida

If accused of Carjacking in Florida, you need to know the:

Definition of Carjacking

Under Florida Statute 812.133, the crime of Carjacking is committed when a person intentionally and unlawfully takes another person's motor vehicle through the use of force, violence, assault, or threat.

Additionally, the applicable penalties increase when a weapon or firearm is used during the commission of the Carjacking.

Penalties for Carjacking

The crime of Carjacking is classified as a First Degree Felony and is assigned a Level 7 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

If convicted of carjacking, a judge is required to impose a minimum prison sentence of 21 months in prison absent grounds to impose a downward departure sentence and can also impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to thirty (30) years in prison.
  • Up to thirty (30) years of probation.
  • Up to $10,000 in fines.

Weapon Enhancement

If a weapon is used in the commission of the Carjacking, the crime becomes punishable by up to life in prison and will be classified as a Level 9 offense under Florida's sentencing guidelines, which would require a judge to impose a minimum prison sentence of 48 months in prison.

10/20/Life Firearm Enhancement

Under Florida Statute 775.087(2)(a)(1), a person convicted of actually possessing a firearm during the commission of a Carjacking, as opposed to being an unarmed accomplice, is subject to being sentenced under Florida's 10/20/Life statute.

Under the 10/20/Life statute, and depending on how the firearm was used, a person convicted of Carjacking would receive one of the following minimum-mandatory prison sentences:

  • A minimum 10 year prison term if in possession of a firearm;
  • A minimum 20 year prison term if the firearm was discharged; and
  • A minimum 25 year prison term if someone is injured or killed by the firearm.

Defenses to Carjacking

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, common defenses to the crime of Carjacking include:

Afterthought Defense

It is a defense to the crime of Carjacking if the taking of a motor vehicle occurred as an afterthought to the use of force or violence. (However, the taking may still constitute Grand Theft Motor Vehicle.) [1]

For example, if two people got into a fight, resulting in one of the two being knocked out, it would not be Robbery to take the unconscious person's keys off of a table and take his car, because the taking of the watch was an afterthought that occurred after the fight had concluded. (Although it would constitute the lesser offense of Grand Theft Motor Vehicle.)

Claim of Right Defense

Under Florida law, a forcible taking of a Motor Vehicle under a bona fide claim of right is not Carjacking where the taker has a good faith belief that he or she is the owner, or is entitled to immediate possession, of the Motor Vehicle. [2]

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have been arrested or charged with the crime of Carjacking in Central Florida or the Greater Orlando area, contact Criminal Defense Lawyer today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.


  1. DeJesus v. State, 98 So. 3d 105 (Fla. 2d DCA 2012)
  2. TDW v. State, 42 So. 3d 959 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010)