One of the most common crimes in Chicago is that of possession of a stolen vehicle. For a defense attorney such cases present certain peculiarities and challenges, but they also present opportunities to develop a deeper understanding of the law. Understandably, the defendant may try to claim a lack of knowledge about the origin of the car, but the investigating officers are normally well versed in the critical aspects of discovery. They will most certainly ensure that the mens rea is proved. The Actus Reus is normally a foregone conclusion since in most cases the suspect is caught red handed, usually in the commission of a traffic offense.
Implications for the Defendant
The indicative term of imprisonment is anywhere between three and seven years; quite a stiff sentence when one considers the fact that defendants who are involved in major violence and significant economic crimes might get a shorter term (see People vs Wright). The value of the car in question can be a mitigating or aggravating feature. For example, a car that is worth more than $10,000 will normally attract a Class 2 felony charge. Other aggravating features include the use of deception and threats. There are instances in which the offense is merely a conduit for more serious charges such as grand auto theft or even robbery. Therefore, it is imperative for the defending attorney to have as much information about the case as possible before it moves to arraignment and trial.