law on carjackingThe California Law on Carjacking

Under Sec 215 of the California Penal Code, the crime of carjacking is committed when an individual unlawfully takes a motor vehicle from the possession of the driver or passenger through the use of force, coercion or fear.


The following are elements of the crime of carjacking:

  • A motor vehicle was taken by an individual not the owner;
  • The said taking was done in the presence of another individual who was either in possession of the vehicle or as a passenger;
  • The said taking was against the will or without the consent of the vehicle's owner or passenger;
  • There was force or fear used in the taking of the vehicle to prevent any objection from the owner or driver of the vehicle at the time of the taking;
  • The force employed was either temporary or permanent;

There are other facts that need to be proven in this crime. The following facts need to be proven in order to be convicted of the crime of carjacking:

  • The applied force or fear has the purpose of taking the vehicle, without which no crime of carjacking is committed;
  • The possession of the vehicle must change together with some movement of the vehicle, even for a short distance;
  • There was no consent given by the possessor or passenger of the vehicle and its subsequent movement;
  • The possession of the vehicle can just be partial so long as there is control as to the movement of the vehicle;
  • The fear imposed is fear of being injured or for others located nearby;

For commission of this crime, the prison time is up to nine years in state penitentiary. When the crime is committed through the use of a weapon or when the victim sustains injuries, then the penalties are enhanced in the crime of carjacking.