Commonly referred to as carjacking, standard and aggravated vehicular hijacking are Illinois crimes that address the immediate theft of motor vehicles. In any circumstance, this type of behavior is illegal under Illinois law. Depending on the circumstances, the Illinois penalties for vehicular hijacking can fluctuate greatly.
Definition of Vehicular Hijacking
The definition of vehicular hijacking appears in 720 ILCS 5/18-3. There are three elements to this offense under Illinois law. In order to qualify as vehicular hijacking, the perpetrator must:
- Knowingly take unlawful possession of a motor vehicle;
- From the person or immediate presence of another; and
- Use force or the threat of force to complete the offense.
Penalties for Vehicular Hijacking
Any person who violates 720 ILCS 5/18-3 and commits vehicular hijacking is guilty of a Class 1 felony. The standard Illinois punishment for a Class 1 felony includes a sentencing range of four to 15 years as well as a maximum of $25,000 in fines and four years of probation.
Definition of Aggravated Vehicular Hijacking
The definition of aggravated vehicular hijacking appears in 720 ILCS 5/18-4. The aggravated version of this offense applies when:
- The victim of the offense was a disabled person or at least 60 years old;
- A passenger under 16 years old was present during the offense;
- The perpetrator was in possession of a dangerous weapon, other than a firearm, during the offense;
- The perpetrator was in possession of a firearm during the offense;
- The perpetrator discharged a firearm during the offense; or
- The perpetrator discharged a firearm during the offense and caused severe physical harm or death.
Penalties for Aggravated Vehicular Hijacking
Any person who violates 720 ILCS 5/18-4 and commits aggravated vehicular hijacking is guilty of a Class X felony. The standard Illinois punishment for a Class X felony includes a sentencing range of six to 30 years and a maximum of $25,000 in fines. Probation is not available for Class X felonies in Illinois.
That being said, the punishment for aggravated vehicular hijacking does fluctuate based on the context of the offense. For example, aggravated vehicular hijacking where the perpetrator:
- Possessed a Dangerous Weapon: Results in seven years added to the sentencing range;
- Possessed a Firearm: Results in 15 years added to the sentencing range;
- Discharged a Firearm: Results in 20 years added to the sentencing range; and
- Caused Harm or Death: Results in 25 years to life added to the sentencing range.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by completing an online form.
(image courtesy of Joris V)