Fort Myers, FL Carjacking Suspect Arrested, Held Without Bond
On March 14, 2018, detectives from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office made an arrest after two days of investigation into a Fort Myers, FL carjacking incident. NBC News Channel 2 reports that the man approached two people sitting in a car at a local convenience store, pointed a gun, and demanded the vehicle. The pair complied and the suspect drove away, allegedly using the car in the commission of an armed robbery at another convenience store about an hour later. Police attempted to apprehend him at the scene, but he fled in the stolen vehicle, leading law enforcement officers on a chase down I-75. In addition to reckless driving and fleeing and eluding police, the suspect will also face carjacking charges, one of the more serious types of theft crimes in Florida.
Extensive Implications of Carjacking
You could be charged with carjacking if you take a motor vehicle, which is the target of larceny, from someone else. The crime includes an intent element, so a prosecutor must prove that you intended to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person of the vehicle. In addition, it is necessary for the state to show that you used force, threats, or violence in the course of the taking.
There are a couple of clauses within the statute on carjacking that deserve clarification:
- In the Course of Taking: This language refers to violent acts that occur prior to, at the same time as, or after the taking of the vehicle. Essentially, the statute makes the carjacking a series of acts, beginning before you acquire the vehicle and continuing afterwards. The charges focus on use of violence, threats, or force during this time window.
- In the Course of Committing the Carjacking: This clause is directed at the punishment of a person who is convicted on carjacking charges. It refers to use of a gun or weapon, specifically stating that the presence of a firearm or deadly weapon in connection with the crime triggers more severe punishment.
Penalties and Mandatory Sentencing
Under the statutory language, carjacking is a First Degree Felony. However, the criminal sanctions differ:
- If you carry a gun or deadly weapon “in the course of committing” the offense of carjacking as described above, the crime falls under Florida’s 10-20-Life sentencing structure. Therefore, you face:
- A minimum 10 years in jail for possession of a gun;
- A minimum of 20 years’ incarceration if you discharge the firearm; or,
- A minimum of 25 years in prison if you injure or kill someone with the gun.
- Where you do not carry or possess a gun or deadly weapon in connection with the crime of carjacking, you face up to 30 years in jail or on probation, and a fine up to $10,000.
Talk to a Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer About Carjacking Crimes
If you are facing carjacking or other Florida theft crimes, please contact the Fort Lauderdale office of Attorney Kevin J. Kulik. We can schedule a confidential consultation to review the charges and get to work on a sold criminal defense strategy.