The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola


47 DuPage Court, Elgin, IL 60120

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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.



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auto theft task forces, vehicle theft, Elgin Criminal Defense LawyerLaw enforcement agencies around the state have been forced to shut down stolen vehicle task forces over the last several weeks as a result of budget manipulations coming out of Springfield. An executive order issued by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner in January froze hundreds of millions dollars in state funds determined to be non-essential spending, including $6 million originally collected from state drivers’ auto insurance premiums to fund the auto theft investigation teams.

Task Force History

In 1991, the state legislature passed the Illinois Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Act, which statutorily created the state’s Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Council, as a well as a trust fund from which the council and its efforts would be funded. The source of funding was never intended to be tax dollars; instead, the initiative was to be subsidized by insurance carriers at the rate of one dollar per auto insurance policy sold in the state. As a result of the act, regional auto theft task forces were established to investigate stolen vehicle cases, which, in turn, were expected to reduce fraudulent insurance claims and payments.

Successful Track Record

Since its inception in the 1992, the Illinois Motor Vehicle Prevention Council, through the efforts of its task forces, has been credited with reducing auto theft in Illinois by more than 70 percent. Nearly 37,000 criminal investigations have been opened, along with almost 69,000 audits of vehicle related businesses, such as dealerships and suspected "chop-shops." The initiative has led to more than 17,000 arrests, 7,000 convictions, and more than 41,000 recovered vehicles, valued at approximately $342 million.

No More Funding

Several of the state’s task forces were essentially stopped dead when the Governor’s order froze funding back in January. The Illinois legislature has approved a measure to push the carrier-collected funds into the state’s general revenue fund in an attempt to cover budget shortfalls. Law enforcement officials and insurance industry representatives have expressed concern over shutting down a successful program that has led to reduced insurance rates for many drivers and lower auto crime rates.

Auto Theft Defense Attorney

If you are facing any type of charges related to auto theft, the impact to your life can be severe. Contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer in Kane County today to discuss your options. Attorney Brian Mirandola spent seven years prosecuting auto theft and other crimes as an Assistant State’s Attorney and is ready to put that experience into building your defense.

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