Like robbery, carjacking is a felony criminal offense that can lead to life in prison if certain elements are met. Robbery covers many of the same elements as carjacking in Florida; the main difference is that carjacking is the taking of a motor vehicle specifically through force, violence, assault, or threats. As a victim, a carjacking can be a life-threatening encounter, especially when a deadly weapon is used.
In 2013, almost 700,000 vehicles were stolen. These days, it is getting harder for thieves to activate cars that are not already running, due to improved security features in higher-end cars. Thus, more carjacking attempts are being made. There are steps you can take to protect yourself when you are in your vehicle.
Give up your car. It may be incredibly upsetting to be approached by someone trying to steal your car right from under you, but oftentimes the safest course of action is to give in. If you have a child in the backseat, let the offender know and take your child with you. A car can be replaced, your and your child’s lives however, cannot.
Beware of sneaky tricks. Some criminals attempt to lure drivers into providing the perfect opportunity for them to take their vehicles. One trick is called the bumper tap. A criminal will tap your car’s bumper so you will step out to inspect the damage. At this point, a group of carjackers may be waiting to pounce on you so that one can make off with your car. According to a retired NYPD detective sergeant, you should drive to the nearest police station before you step out.
In addition to the bumper tap, carjackers may initiate the $20 bill trick. If you find money on your windshield, it may be an attempt to get the driver to step out of the car after the engine has been ignited. In the time it takes you to retrieve the money, the thieves can hop inside your car and attempt to run off with it. At this point, many people hoping to stop them get run over.
Keep your car in drive at the ATM. Rather than put your car in park, keeping your foot on the brake at the ATM can enable a quick escape should carjackers attempt to take your vehicle while you are taking out cash. Be sure to drive up as close to the ATM machine as possible.
Carjacking is usually a first degree felony offense for which you may face mandatory minimum sentencing. If you are facing charges for carjacking in West Palm Beach, you need strong representation. Speak with attorney Brian Gabriel by calling 561-622-5575 or contact The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel online to discuss your case. Your first consultation is free.