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Joliet criminal defense attorneyCriminal activity that involves theft and property can encompass many different offenses, such as trespassing, vandalism, shoplifting, robbery, and burglary. Stealing a car is a common crime in many states throughout the country, including Illinois. In some cases, a person may take a vehicle without the owner’s permission for specific auto parts, including wheels or rims, while someone else may wish to take the car for a joyride. Motor vehicle theft is an offense that is commonly linked to other crimes. For example, stolen cars are typically used in store or bank robberies since the stolen automobile is not tied to the perpetrator. Regardless of the reasons or the motives, anyone who takes another person’s vehicle can face serious charges under Illinois’ theft laws.

Illinois Punishments for Stealing a Car

Although many people may have heard the term “grand theft auto,” it is not an actual criminal charge. The theft of a vehicle falls under general theft statute in Illinois. In order to secure a conviction in these cases, the prosecution must prove there was intent to permanently deprive the car’s owner of its use or benefit. If someone did not intend to permanently separate the automobile from its owner, a theft charge may be dismissed.

The penalties vary depending on several factors, including the value of the stolen property and the owner. A perpetrator can face a myriad of punishments, including costly fines, a suspended or revoked driver’s license, probation, community service, restitution, or years of imprisonment.


Will County criminal defense attorneyOn January 13, 2021, Illinois lawmakers voted to enact the Pretrial Fairness Act, which would eliminate cash bail bonds and pretrial incarceration by 2023. In addition, the Act provides for certain law enforcement reforms. Part of the reasoning for this new law is that studies show these systems disproportionately harmed Black and Latin American individuals. A new system for pretrial release is to become effective on January 1, 2023. In the meantime, those facing charges for criminal offenses may be wondering if they are eligible for bail. Depending on the severity of the alleged crime, Illinois offenders may be allowed to post bail and get out of jail while they await trial and sentencing.  

Criminal Justice System Reforms

In addition to ending cash bail as an option for offenders, the Illinois campaign to enact other criminal justice system reforms has been led by a coalition of 15 organizations and the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus (ILBC). The Pretrial Fairness Act passed the state legislature; however, at the time of this writing, the bill is waiting on Governor Pritzker’s signature. Gov. Pritzker faces mounting pressure from different organizations, including police agencies, to reject or veto the bill. The Act creates a more expansive system for monitoring statewide law enforcement misconduct, requiring every police officer in Illinois to be equipped with a body camera by 2025.

The comprehensive bill’s provisions include the following:


Joliet criminal defense lawyerWhen someone is charged with a crime, a number of things can happen within the criminal justice system. Typically, the defendant is arrested and read his or her rights, which includes the right to an attorney. In Illinois, a person may be eligible for bail depending on the severity of the alleged crime. Certain cases can also result in a trial, with a judge and a jury. You may have heard the phrase “incompetent to stand trial” from watching a movie or crime drama on television. What exactly does it mean to be found “incompetent” and how is this different from an individual being found not guilty by reason of insanity? Can mental illness prevent a defendant from being convicted of a criminal offense in Illinois? 

Mental Illness and Criminal Cases

Research shows that in the United States, approximately one in five adults live with a mental illness (51.5 million people in 2019). This type of illness can vary in degree of severity, ranging from mild to moderate to severe. Depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder are a few of the most common mental illnesses that individuals experience. 

In general, a defendant who claims to have a mental illness would undergo psychiatric exams and evaluations by healthcare professionals in order to assess his or her mental health and competency. Simply having a mental illness does not prevent someone from being charged or convicted of a crime. In addition, it is not the same thing as being found not guilty by reason of insanity, which is a plea where the defendant claims that he or she was so mentally incapacitated at the time of the offense that he or she did not intend to commit the crime, and thus is not guilty.


Joliet criminal defense attorneyIn order for a person to be convicted of a criminal offense, the prosecution typically must provide evidence that a crime was committed. A search warrant is a legal document that allows police officers to enter certain places to attempt to retrieve evidence. Recent news reports about police searching the wrong home have surfaced, shedding light on the use of search warrants. Specifically, “no-knock” search warrants have faced harsh criticism and scrutiny across the country. Common among drug crimes, weapons violations, and theft, search warrants are relied upon to establish a defendant’s guilt in most cases. However, it may not be as cut-and-dry as you might think. Depending on the circumstance, a criminal defense attorney may be able to contest the admission of evidence seized in the search and prevent it from being used in your case.

Your Fourth Amendment Rights

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects U.S. citizens and their property from unreasonable search and seizure. According to its doctrine, warrants must be issued with probable cause based on a sworn affirmation, and they must also describe the exact location to be searched as well as the items to be seized. Illinois law includes provisions to ensure that warrants are issued and executed in compliance with the Fourth Amendment, and if those provisions are not upheld, law enforcement may be violating your rights.

You may be able to contest the admission of evidence obtained with a search warrant based on several factors. For example, a clerical error could be made on the affidavit supporting probable cause, or it may include false information, making any evidence inadmissible. It is also important to note that a police officer may only seize the evidence designated in the warrant.


Joliet criminal defense attorneyMany people look forward to the winter holidays for various reasons, including gathering with friends and family to exchange gifts and share a meal. However, this holiday season is unlike most others in our lifetime due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on society. In order to slow the spread of the contagious virus, many non-essential businesses have closed or reduced capacity and staff. This has put a significant strain on individuals who are struggling to pay their bills let alone buy Christmas gifts. According to national statistics, more theft crimes occur during the holidays even without a pandemic going on. For instance, larceny during the month of December is 22 percent higher than the average rate for larceny in all other months combined. If you or your loved one is facing charges for any kind of theft crime, it is essential to consult a skilled criminal defense attorney who can help reduce your sentence or have your case dismissed altogether. 

Different Types of Theft Offenses

Illinois takes theft crimes seriously, and therefore, it is important to understand what actions constitute these crimes. Common theft crimes such as robbery and burglary are often intertwined, but they are actually separate offenses under Illinois law. Robbery is defined as taking something from someone by force. However, if an individual feels threatened in any way, the theft charge escalates to robbery. 

Burglary means entering an area in which a person does not have the owner’s permission or authorization. Similar to trespassing, the main difference is the offender’s intent. The prosecution must prove that the defendant intended to commit a felony or steal an item. Possible charges can range from a Class 1 to a Class 2 felony. However, if the break-in with intent was at a daycare facility or a church building, it is enhanced to a Class 1 felony with a mandatory four-year prison term that could also go up to 15 years and include a maximum fine of $25,000. 

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