Standard and aggravated vehicular hijacking represent two serious offenses under the Illinois Criminal Code. Often referred to as carjacking in common parlance, these offenses involve the theft of a motor vehicle using force or the threat of force. Furthermore, the presence of certain aggravating factors can lead to enhanced penalties under Illinois law.
- Vehicular Hijacking
720 ILCS 5/18-3 supplies the Illinois laws against vehicular hijacking. This section prohibits any person from knowingly:
- Taking a motor vehicle from the person or immediate presence of a victim; and
- Using force or the threat of imminent force to complete the act.
Section 18-3 also explains the Illinois penalty for vehicular hijacking. Any person who commits this offense will typically face Class 1 felony charges. If convicted for a Class 1 felony in Illinois, the penalties can include imprisonment for four to 15 years and criminal fines up to $25,000. Though certain offenders may qualify for probation or conditional discharge instead, with an upper limit of four years.
- Aggravated Vehicular Hijacking
720 ILCS 5/18-4 establishes the Illinois laws against aggravated vehicular hijacking. The aggravated version of this offense applies upon the presence of any of the following factors:
- The victim has a physical disability or is at least 60 years old;
- A person under the age of 16 years old is a passenger in the vehicle;
- The offender carries on their person a dangerous weapon (excluding firearms);
- The offender carries on their person a firearm;
- The offender discharges a firearm;
- The offender discharges a firearm and causes great bodily harm, permanent disability/disfigurement, or death.
Section 18-4 also furnishes the Illinois penalty for aggravated vehicular hijacking. At a minimum, any person who commits this offense will face Class X felony charges. If convicted for a Class X felony in Illinois, the penalties can include imprisonment for six to 30 years and criminal fines up to $25,000. Illinois does not offer probation or conditional discharge for Class X felonies.
That being said, Section 18-4 does impose enhanced sentences for certain types of offenses. If aggravated vehicular hijacking involved:
- Dangerous Weapon Possession — There is a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years imprisonment;
- Firearm Possession — The term of imprisonment increases by 15 years;
- Firearm Discharge — The term of imprisonment increases by 20 years; or
- Firearm Injury/Disability/Disfigurement/Death — The term of imprisonment increases by 25 years.
Do You Need Legal Help?
No matter what the criminal offense, all charges are serious. A sound strategy and an aggressive defense are essential for a positive outcome. To protect your rights in such situations, it is highly advisable to retain legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The Prior Law Firm in Bloomington, Illinois, has proven experience in matters of criminal defense. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, email at email@example.com or by completing an online form.