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Criminal Trespass to a Vehicle in Illinois

March 25th, 2016 at 7:00 am

Illinois criminal trespass to a vehicle, Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense AttorneyMany criminal defendants are unaware that there is such a thing as criminal trespass to a vehicle until they are facing criminal charges for it. A typical scenario of how these charges arise involves a teenager who “borrows” a car or some other motor vehicle not belonging to him without permission and then takes the vehicle for a joyride. However, when the teen returns with the vehicle, he often finds himself under arrest and facing criminal charges for trespass to a vehicle.

Anyone who is facing criminal trespassing charges needs to seek out the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately.

What is Criminal Trespass to a Vehicle in Illinois?

Under 720 ILCS 5/21-2, a person who knowingly and without authority or permission enters or operates a vehicle of another can be found to have committed criminal trespass to a vehicle.   

Vehicles for the purpose of the criminal trespass statute can include:

  • A car, truck or motorcycle;
  • Aircraft;
  • Watercraft, such as boats; and
  • Recreational vehicles, such as snowmobiles or all terrain vehicles.

Overstaying your welcome in a vehicle could also constitute a criminal trespass to a vehicle. If the vehicle owner says “get out,” then remaining in the vehicle could amount to an unauthorized occupation of the vehicle.

Charges for criminal trespass to a vehicle are based on whether the defendant had the intent to deprive the owner of the vehicle of his or her car indefinitely. If the defendant only had the intention to use the vehicle for a short period of time, or to occupy the vehicle only temporarily, then the defendant might be guilty of criminal trespass if no good defenses to his or her actions exist.

How is Criminal Trespass to a Vehicle Different from Theft of an Automobile?

Vehicle theft in Illinois is governed by the Illinois general theft provisions of the law. Vehicle theft occurs when a person, knowingly and without permission, takes possession of a vehicle that is not his, with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the use of the vehicle. Taking possession of the vehicle can be the byproduct of use of force, deception, threats, or by knowingly receiving the stolen vehicle.

Theft requires that the person who took the vehicle intended to permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle. Criminal trespass to a vehicle, on the other hand, does not. Joyriding is the most typical cause of trespass to a vehicle charges because by taking a vehicle for a joyride, the trespasser only intends to occupy the vehicle for the duration of the ride, and no longer. The joyrider has the intention of returning the vehicle at the outset.

Let Our Attorneys Assist You

Criminal trespassing charges are serious and if you are facing trespass to a vehicle charges, you need to consult with a criminal defense lawyer right away. Please contact a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately to discuss your case and to learn how we can assist you throughout each step of the way if you are facing criminal charges in Illinois.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K21-2

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=36500000&SeqEnd=39200000

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