Commonly referred to as carjacking, the Illinois Criminal Code prohibits both regular and aggravated vehicular hijacking. These crimes are closely related to robbery but involve motor vehicles instead of other types of property. Any person who commits regular or aggravated vehicular hijacking can face severe punishment for their actions.
720 ILCS 5/18-3 supplies the Illinois laws against and penalties for vehicular hijacking. Under this section, a person commits vehicular hijacking if they knowingly:
- Take a motor vehicle from someone else’s person or presence; and
- Use force or the threat of imminent force to complete the offense.
A vehicular hijacking offense in violation of Section 18-3 is typically charged as a Class 1 felony. If convicted, the punishment can include four to 15 years in prison and up to $25,000 in criminal fines. Probation or conditional discharge of up to 48 months is available for Class 1 felonies in Illinois.
Aggravated Vehicular Hijacking
720 ILCS 5/18-4 furnishes the Illinois laws against and penalties for aggravated vehicular hijacking. Under this section, the aggravated version of this offense applies when a person commits vehicular hijacking and also:
- The victim is disabled or elderly;
- There is a passenger under 16 years old in the vehicle;
- The perpetrator is armed with a dangerous weapon, other than a firearm;
- The perpetrator is armed with a firearm;
- The perpetrator discharges a firearm; or
- The perpetrator discharges a firearm and causes great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement, or death to a victim.
An aggravated vehicular hijacking offense in violation of Section 18-4 is usually charged as a Class X felony. If convicted, the punishment can include six to 30 years in prison and up to $25,000 in criminal fines. In addition, Illinois law does not permit probation or conditional discharge for any Class X felony offense.
That being said, Section 18-4 also provides enhanced penalties for certain types of aggravated vehicular hijacking offenses. For example, if the offense involved:
- Weapon Possession — Then there is an additional seven years added to the prison sentence;
- Firearm Possession — Then there is an additional 15 years added to the prison sentence;
- Firearm Discharge — Then there is an additional 20 years added to the prison sentence; or
- Firearm Injury/Death — Then there is an additional 25 years to life added to the prison sentence.
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.