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Theft Crimes That Involve Theft of a Vehicle in Illinois

October 11th, 2016 at 7:00 am

theft of a vehicle, rolling meadows, car hijackingStealing a motor vehicle is a serious offense in Illinois. There are several different theft crimes that involve the unauthorized taking of a vehicle, and state prosecutors do not take kindly to criminal defendants who allegedly take things that do not belong to them. Theft crimes involving a vehicle include stealing a car, trespass to a motor vehicle, carjacking, and failure to return a rental vehicle. If you are facing criminal charges that involve the theft of a vehicle, you need to get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Stealing a Car

In Illinois there is no specific statute focused directly on the theft of a vehicle. Instead, when a car is stolen state prosecutors pursue the criminal defendant under the traditional Illinois theft statute. Car theft is committed when a person knowingly takes a vehicle belonging to another without permission and with the intent to deprive the vehicle’s owner of the use of the vehicle permanently.

If a person takes a vehicle belonging to another without permission, but only intends to temporarily deprive the vehicle’s owner of his or her use of vehicle, such as when the vehicle is taken out for a joyride, then the criminal defendant could be charged with joyriding. This offense is also sometimes referred to as criminal trespass to vehicle. While not necessarily as serious as stealing a car, criminal trespass to a vehicle is not a criminal charge to take lightly.


Hijacking a person’s car by force or by the use of threats of force is known as carjacking in Illinois. Carjacking is a serious offense that can be upgraded to aggravated carjacking if certain other circumstances exist at the time of the carjacking incident. For instance, carjacking charges can be enhanced when aggravating factors exist, such as a firearm was used or discharged during the carjacking, a child under the age of 16 was in the vehicle at the time of the carjacking, a victim of the carjacking incident was over the age of 60 years old or was physically handicapped, or a victim of the carjacking was injured or killed by a firearm during the carjacking.  

Failure to Return a Rental Vehicle

Whenever a person rents a vehicle, a term of his or her rental contract is the date and time that the rental vehicle must be returned to the rental agency. When a renter does not return a rental vehicle on time, the renter is in breach of his or her rental contract agreement. But not only that, the renter is also committing theft because he or she is depriving the rental agency of the use of the rental vehicle.

Accused of a Vehicle Theft Offense? Contact a Lawyer

Any theft crime is a serious matter, but theft crimes involving a vehicle are particularly serious.  If you have been charged with the crime involved in the theft of a vehicle, please do not hesitate to contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately. We are available to help you today.


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Written by Staff Writer

October 11th, 2016 at 7:00 am

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