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How to Fight Felony Charges for Vehicle Theft

Posted on in Felonies

IL defense lawyerIn the state of Illinois, there is no specific “grand theft auto” law. So when someone steals a car or other motor vehicle, it is included in Illinois’ general theft law. This means, if someone is caught in possession of a stolen vehicle, they will face felony charges and all the punishments that come with them.

Defining Vehicular Theft

As stated above, the act of stealing a motor vehicle falls under the Illinois Theft Statute which includes several incriminating acts:

  • Taking unauthorized control of another person’s property.
  • Using deception to take control of another person’s property.
  • Threatening the owner to take control of their property.
  • Knowingly taking property that has already been stolen from another person.

In the cases of vehicular theft, the automobile is the property that cannot be taken control of. The exception is if the owner gives permission for the alleged thief to borrow the vehicle for an agreed upon period of time.

Punishments for Vehicular Theft

Stealing a car will result in a felony theft charge. A conviction of this nature will result in fines and possibly even jail time depending on the value of the product stolen.

  • A Class 3 felony is given when the value range of the automobile stolen is $500-$10,000 and the punishment is up to five years in prison.
  • A Class 2 felony is given when the value range of the automobile stolen is $10,000-$100,000 and deception is used to take the car. If the car is a government-owned vehicle with a value less than $10,000, the alleged thief will be given this charge. The punishment is up to seven years in prison.
  • A Class 1 felony is given when the value range of a government-owned automobile is $10,000-$100,000. For general cars, this charge is given when the value range of the automobile is $100,000-$500,000. The action is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
  • A Class 1 non-probationary felony is given when the value range of the automobile stolen is $500,000-$1,000,000.
  • A Class X Felony is given when the value of a regular car stolen exceeds $1,000,000 and when the value of a government-owned car exceeds $100,000. The punishment for this charge is up to 30 years in prison.

Defending Against Vehicular Theft Charges

Mistakes can be made and the best way to defend against vehicular theft charges is to prove that the alleged thief is, in fact, the legal owner of the vehicle. If the alleged thief is not the owner, then they must prove that they had permission from the owner to take the car and return it at a certain time.

There are also times when a car is stolen by one person but then is sold to another person who does not know that the vehicle was stolen. That person would have to prove that they had no knowledge of the theft in order to avoid a felony charge.

Contact an Elgin, IL Vehicle Theft Defense Lawyer

Cases of theft are often more complicated than they may appear. In order to be as safe as possible, you will need an attorney to help build your case and examine all evidence so that you are not wrongfully punished. The lawyers of the Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola are ready to help you through your case. To schedule a free consultation with a Kane County criminal defense attorney, call 847-488-0889.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K16-1

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/062500050K4-103.2.htm

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