What started with a theft from a store snowballed into serious felonies that now have two Clay County woman facing decades behind bars. The women were accused of stealing clothes from a Clay County store and then speeding off and throwing price tags out the window when a police car was chasing them, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The car hit a curb and blew a tire, and the driver drove through a parking lot where police lost sight of it, the newspaper reported. The women then got out, walked into traffic and forced their way into a stranger’s vehicle, who eventually pulled over with police behind her, the newspaper reported.
Instead of facing a third-degree felony for the theft, the chase and subsequent carjacking has both women now facing a total of 55 years in state prison for these Clay County Felony Cases. That would be if the judge chose to issue the maximum sentence on each charge and run the sentences consecutively – not likely, but it does show the seriousness of the case and how the penalties escalated. Both women are charged with carjacking and false imprisonment of an adult on the second part of the crime.
Carjacking, even without a weapon, is a first-degree felony with a maximum penalty of up to 30 years in state prison. False imprisonment of an adult is a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of five years in state prison. On the theft side of this Clay County Felony Case, they are charged with fleeing and eluding a police officer with disregard for safety to persons or property; grand theft; and resisting a retail merchant. The fleeing charge is the most serious of these charges and is a second-degree felony that could result in up to 15 years in state prison. The grand theft charge is another third-degree felony with a maximum sentence of five years and the resisting a retail merchant charge is a misdemeanor that is only punishable by up to a year in the county jail.
While this is not the traditional type of carjacking where someone is armed and forces the person out the car, the penalty is still the same. Oftentimes when there are multiple felony charges in a case, the state will offer a deal that has the defendant pleading guilty to some or all of the charges, in exchange for a sentence far below the maximum.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Clay County Theft Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.