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What Are the Criminal Consequences of Vehicle Theft in Illinois?

 Posted on February 05, 2021 in Criminal Defense

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.

  • Class 3 Felony: The stolen vehicle is valued at $500-$10,000, resulting in up to five years in jail.

  • Class 2 Felony: The stolen vehicle’s value is $10,000-$100,000, or it is a government vehicle valued at less than $10,000. This can also be charged if the defendant knowingly deceived a party in order to steal a vehicle worth $5,000 or more from an individual who is 60 years old or older. This felony offense is punishable by up to seven years in prison.

  • Class 1 Felony: Theft of a government vehicle with a value of $10,000-$100,000, or theft of a vehicle valued at $100,000-$500,000. This crime can carry up to 15 years in jail.

  • Class 1 Non-Probationary Felony: Theft of a vehicle valued at $500,000-$1,000,000. This crime carries the same penalty as a Class 1 felony without the possibility of probation.

  • Class X Felony: Theft of a government vehicle that is worth more than $100,000, or theft of an automobile valued at over $1 million. In addition, carjacking, also known as vehicular hijacking, is when force or the threat of force is used to take possession of a vehicle. This felony class carries a possible prison sentence of up to 30 years. 

Contact a Joliet Criminal Defense Attorney

Theft and property crimes may not seem like a big deal until you are facing time behind bars for allegedly committing this type of offense. At McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC, we realize that people make mistakes and can be in the wrong place at the wrong time. That is why we fight for our clients’ rights to a fair trial and outcome. Our reputable Will County criminal defense lawyers will carefully review the circumstances that led to your arrest and charges, and we will do everything in our power to avoid a conviction. To learn more, call our office today at 815-727-0100 to set up a free, private consultation.  




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