New York City Carjacking Lawyer
Under New York Penal Law, carjacking is considered a form of robbery. To be accused of robbery for carjacking the act itself does not have to be violent or assaultive in nature. This fact often comes as a surprise to someone accused of such a crime.
If you were charged with robbery due to carjacking, contact a knowledgeable New York City carjacking lawyer who could work with you to help you fully understand the nature and potential consequences of your charges. Work with a determined theft attorney that can fight tirelessly in your defense.
Defining Carjacking in New York
Most people have a basic understanding of carjacking: a person takes another’s car while that person is inside. Interestingly, however, New York law does not formally define carjacking as a unique criminal act. Instead, the state refers to the act of carjacking as a robbery in the second degree under New York Penal Law §160.10.
In order to convict for the act of carjacking, a prosecutor in New York must prove that the defendant forcibly stole property that qualifies as a motor vehicle under New York traffic law. Doing so is a class C felony that could carry a mandatory jail term. Additionally, a convicted person may have to pay restitution for any property damage they caused in the act of the crime.
It is important to note that a second-degree robbery has alternate definitions. Normally, a second-degree robbery is charged when someone causes physical injury to a person or displays a firearm of some sort, but the third provision of New York Penal Law §160.10 supersedes these requirements. The theft of an occupied car—even if the accused was unarmed and did not harm the occupant—is automatically a second-degree robbery at minimum.
In situations where the occupant of a carjacked vehicle suffers serious injury or the individual committing the act of carjacking is armed with a deadly weapon or threatens the use of a firearm, the charges can be upgraded to first-degree robbery. First-degree robbery is a class B violent felony punishable by five to 25 years in prison.
Defenses Against Carjacking
A key element of any carjacking is that the alleged carjacker performed a theft, an act defined as the taking of property from someone against their will. A qualified carjacking attorney in New York City may be able to argue that the act was not theft but was permitted by the car owner. Another potential defense involves the idea of a forceful taking.
For a prosecutor to prove a carjacking occurred, they must show that the taking was done by force. Following this concept, if a person takes a car that is unoccupied the court may not be able to convict them of carjacking. This may leave the defendant open to lesser theft charges, and perhaps a less severe punishment as a result.
A New York City Carjacking Attorney is Available to Help
Anyone facing carjacking or robbery charges could suffer serious consequences. In light of this, it is often extremely important to retain the services of a legal advocate that understands your needs and can fight to protect your rights.
A New York City carjacking lawyer could help you argue your side of the case and exercise your rights in court. Every day that passes is crucial to an effective defense. Call today to schedule a consultation today so that we may get started on your case immediately.