Per media report, three teens face charges as car thieves who allegedly led Ft. Lauderdale police on a high-speed chase in a stolen SUV during mid-evening hours of February 26, 2016. Officers reportedly saw three young males rush from a stolen Hyundai Sonata at the Cambridge Apartments in Lauderdale Lakes. Two suspects who fled on foot were found hiding nearby and taken into custody by K-9 units. One detainee was treated for unspecified injuries at Plantation General Hospital. A third male youth who jumped into another SUV sped away but was arrested the next day when his mother notified police after she recognized her son from related news footage.
Authorities reportedly stated that the last teenager arrested has since cooperated with police investigators who actively seek a fourth suspect for questioning as of date. Local 10 News anchorman Terrell Forney attended initial arraignment and reported that the presiding judge ordered spectators to leave when one boy’s cursing and kicking incited similar misconduct by his two codefendants. Ensuing uproar led to six other teens’ courtroom arrests, two of whom spent five days in jail for contempt of court. The other four were released without charges. According to court files, one arraigned carjacker was placed on pretrial house arrest with orders not to contact codefendants and mandatory school attendance five days per week.
Carjacking is a serious crime punishable by life imprisonment, pursuant to Florida Revised Statutes § 812.133. Conviction requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant: 1) used force, violence, assault or threat; 2) to intentionally deprive a victim of his or her vehicle or benefit thereof permanently or temporarily.
However, a ‘victim’ can have legal possession of a vehicle that he or she does not own. Moreover, nonresistance of a victim who feels threatened or resists with no fear are both sufficient for carjacking convictions. In addition, administering substance(s) with intent to induce a victim’s unconsciousness of vehicle theft is defined as carjacking. Finally, using a deadly weapon triggers enhanced sentencing as a first-class felony, even despite no prior carjacking or any other felony or misdemeanor conviction.
Kenneth Hassett is a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney who has represented clients charged with carjacking and virtually any other offense related to Florida crimes since 1991. If you or someone you know is facing such a legal battle, don’t trust ultimate victory to fate. Call the law offices of Kenneth Hassett 24/7/365 to schedule a free initial consultation that might well lead to a fight with very realistic anticipation of a final verdict in your decided favor.