Most of us are familiar with the term carjacking from television, movies, and video games. It is legally referred to as vehicular hijacking, and it is defined as the use of force or the threat of the use of force to steal another person’s vehicle. Vehicular hijacking, or carjacking, is a serious violent crime in Illinois and the penalties are harsh. You will be facing felony charges and a lengthy prison term, as well as fines, if you are accused of carjacking, and you will have a permanent blight on your criminal record.
What Exactly is Carjacking?
Under Illinois law, you can be charged with carjacking if you take a motor vehicle from another person by the use of force, or by the threat of the use of force. It is considered more than a simple robbery – it is a separate charge entirely, and it is a Class 1 felony. If you are convicted of carjacking, you could face up to 15 years in prison. The penalties are significantly harsher than those for robbery and burglary offenses, which are usually charged as Class 2 felonies and carry shorter sentences and lower fines.
What is Aggravated Vehicular Hijacking?
Although the penalties for vehicular hijacking are quite steep, they pale in comparison to the penalties associated with aggravated vehicular hijacking. To be charged with this, the prosecutor has to be able to show that you used a weapon or firearm or possessed a weapon or firearm, while hijacking the vehicle. You can also be charged with aggravated vehicular hijacking if you take a car from a person who is under the age of 15, elderly, or disabled.
If you are convicted of aggravated vehicular hijacking, you are facing a prison sentence that ranges from seven years to life. Carjacking charges can be increased to aggravated vehicular hijacking if, during the taking of the vehicle, the alleged carjacker is in possession of a weapon or uses a firearm. If the vehicle from whom the car was taken was elderly, disabled, or under the age of 16, the aggravated charges would also apply. A conviction of aggravated vehicular hijacking can result a prison sentence of seven years to life.
If you have been charged with vehicular hijacking or aggravated vehicular hijacking in Illinois, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney as early as possible. The David Freidberg law firm is here help you, and has many years of experience defending clients against larceny, robbery, burglary, carjacking, and even aggravated carjacking.