The victim in this case shot and wounded one of the suspects in an attempted carjacking. The crime occurred in the 7600 block of Cicero Ave near the Ford City Mall, according to the report. The victim, who was 24, was approached by two suspects, one of whom was carrying a handgun. The suspect allegedly fired at the victim, who produced their own handgun and fired back. Police said the victim was legally authorized to carry a weapon and had a valid FOID/CCL license. The victim is not being charged with a crime in this case.
In this case, the victim has a valid claim of self-defense since the suspect was found carrying a weapon and discharged that weapon. But not all cases of self-defense are so cut-and-dried. In many cases, a victim can be charged with a crime for discharging their weapon in public or even attempted murder.
The rules are simple. To raise a valid self-defense claim, you must establish that you were in immediate fear of your own life. In the case of a carjacking, you can safely bet that the law will take your side if you discharge a weapon while the carjacking is taking place. However, if the carjacking has already happened and you fire at the vehicle as it is driving away, it may be more difficult to establish self-defense as a valid defense.
Self-defense is an affirmative defense. While you can be charged in some cases, prosecutors generally do not press charges in the case of self-defense during a carjacking. An affirmative defense is a type of defense in which you admit to the elements of a crime but say you had a valid excuse. In these cases, the burden of proof shifts to the defense. However, the burden of proof is not as high as the prosecutors. A defendant claiming self-defense would need to argue that they were in immediate fear of their own life and that the jury would have to believe that is more likely than not.
In these cases, a “reasonable person” standard is used. Would a reasonable person fear for their own life or property during a carjacking? The answer is probably yes.
In Illinois, carjacking is known as vehicular hijacking, and it is punishable by a minimum of four years in state prison. The maximum sentence is 15 years. Vehicular hijacking turns into aggravated vehicular hijacking under specific circumstances, such as when the victim is handicapped or over the age of 60. If anyone under the age of 16 is in the car at the time, prosecutors can charge aggravated carjacking. The same is true if the suspect is carrying a weapon. So, in this case, the defendants can be charged with aggravated carjacking. The penalty for carrying a weapon has a mandatory minimum of seven years.
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