What is carjacking in Florida?

The crime of Carjacking is a First Degree Felony, which is punishable by a minimum 21-month prison sentence with up to thirty years in prison, up to thirty years of probation, and up to $10,000 in fines.  

This offense occurs when a person:

Unlawfully or intentionally takes another person’s motor vehicle through the use of force, violence, assault, or fear.  

Some of the defenses to Carjacking are:

  • Mere Presence” at the scene of a crime is not enough to support a conviction.  [1]
    • In cases where a friend or companion commits a Carjacking, the defendant must have intended for the act to have been done as well and done something to encourage, help, or advise the person who commits the crime for Carjacking.  
  • Bona Fide Claim of Ownership
    • If a person in good faith believes that they have ownership of a motor vehicle, they are not committing Carjacking if that claim is genuine.  [2]
  • Stealing was an Afterthought
    • If the taking of a motor vehicle results from an “afterthought” of violence or force, the defendant may be guilty of Grand Theft Auto (or Joyriding) under FL 812.014, but not Carjacking under FL 812.133.   [3]


  1. Gabriel v. State, 254 So. 3d 558 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2018).  
  1. T.D.W. v. State, 42 So. 3d 959, 960 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2010).  
  1. DeJesus v. State, 98 So. 3d 105 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2012).  

Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Glenn M. Swiatek for a Free Initial Consultation in Destin, Shalimar, Crestview, Ft. Walton Beach and other areas of Northwest Florida

If you have been arrested or believe you will soon be arrested for the offense of carjacking in Destin, Shalimar, Crestview, Ft. Walton Beach or other areas of Northwest Florida please call us today at (850) 609‑0940 or contact us online.

Initial Office Consults are free, and I will make myself available to suit your schedule. Get the peace of mind that an attorney with over twenty-three years of criminal law experience can bring.