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What You Need to Know About Vehicular Hijacking in Illinois

February 19th, 2015 at 10:22 am

Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, felony, violent crime,To many people, hijacking sounds like something that happens on an airplane in an action movie from the late twentieth century. While it is that, hijacking is also a type of crime that happens right in in Illinois. Specifically, Illinois law prohibits what it calls “vehicular hijacking.” If you find yourself charged with this crime, you will need the help of a felony criminal defense attorney.

What is Vehicular Hijacking?

Illinois statute defines vehicular hijacking as  a person knowingly taking a motor vehicle from another person by either using force or by threatening the imminent use of force. It is basically the same as robbery, except instead of taking some other type of property, the hijacker takes the victim’s car. It is important to note that the car has to be taken directly from the person or from the person’s presence. Thus, stealing a car from an empty garage would not count as vehicular hijacking. Vehicular hijacking is a slightly more serious offense than robbery, in that even in its most benign forms it is a Class 1 felony.

What is Aggravated Vehicular Hijacking?

There are six ways a regular vehicular hijacking can become aggravated vehicular hijacking under Illinois law. The first two of these are punishable as Class X felonies. These two types are:

  • Vehicular hijacking where the vehicle is taken from someone over age 60 or someone who is physically handicapped; and
  • Vehicular hijacking where a person under the age of 16 is a passenger in the vehicle when the hijacking occurs.

The other four types of this offense are as follows:

  • The third type of aggravated vehicular hijacking is a Class X felony for which the court must sentence an offender to at least seven years in prison. These are vehicular hijackings where the hijacker has a dangerous weapon other than a firearm.
  • The fourth type involves a hijacker who is armed with a gun. This is a Class X felony but it comes with a 15-year firearm add-on to the sentence.
  • The fifth type occurs when the hijacker personally discharges the firearm during the hijacking. This is a Class X felony, but it comes with a 20-year mandatory firearm add-on.
  • The final type involves the hijacker firing a firearm and someone getting seriously hurt because of it. This is a Class X felony that carries with it a firearm add-on of 25 years to natural life.

Vehicular Invasion

Vehicular invasion is a related crime. This Class 1 felony is committed when a person knowingly, by force and without legal justification, enters a motor vehicle or reaches into one when the following two conditions are met:

  • There is at least one person in the vehicle; and
  • The person reaching into the car or entering the car is doing so in order to commit a theft or a felony.

Call an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you are charged with vehicular hijacking or any other criminal offense, you will need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847)394-3200 to schedule a case consultation to discuss your situation and determine how we can best be of help.

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