The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola


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What Evidence Does a Prosecutor Need to Prove That I Stole a Car?

 Posted on September 19, 2023 in Felonies

Kane County, IL carjacking defense lawyerWhen facing stolen car charges in Illinois, it is important to understand what evidence the prosecution needs to prove to convict you. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly possessed a stolen vehicle. This means that they must prove that you knew the vehicle was stolen at the time you had it.

The evidence that the prosecution may use to prove stolen car charges can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Common types of evidence that a prosecutor may use as proof include eyewitness testimony and physical evidence.

It is important to note that even if the prosecution has evidence that you possessed a stolen vehicle, they still must prove that you knew the vehicle was stolen. This can be difficult for the prosecution to do, especially if you have a credible explanation for how you came to possess the vehicle. To help develop a strategy to better explain the credibility of your reasons, consult an attorney.

Eyewitness Testimony

Eyewitness testimony can be a powerful type of evidence, but it is important to note that it is not always reliable. In the context of stolen car charges, eyewitness testimony may be used to identify the defendant as the person who was driving or in possession of the stolen vehicle. However, you should remember that eyewitness testimonies can be inaccurate, especially if the witness was under stress or if the viewing conditions were poor.

Visual testimony can be influenced by the way that the witness is interviewed by the police. For example, if the police ask leading questions or suggest that the witness saw something that they did not actually see, this can lead to inaccurate testimony.

Physical Evidence

Physical evidence can be found on the vehicle itself, on the person who owned the vehicle that was allegedly stolen, or on the suspect. It is important to note that even small amounts of physical evidence can be used to identify the suspect and prove that they were in possession of an allegedly stolen vehicle.

Types of physical evidence may include:

  • Fingerprints

  • DNA

  • Security camera footage

  • Trace evidence, such as hair, fibers, or skin cells

  • Tire tracks

  • Written or recorded material, such as receipts or tickets

What Charges Can I Be Facing in Regards to Auto Theft?

According to Illinois statutes, three criminal offenses can lead to charges of auto theft:

Criminal trespass to vehicles is considered a misdemeanor and refers to a person knowing that they are in a stolen vehicle. Vehicular hijacking charges include taking the vehicle by force or threats of force, turning the misdemeanor into a felony.

Aggravated vehicular hijacking is where things can get a little more complicated. This form of auto theft is considered a Class X felony with varying degrees of penalties. Examples of what are considered aggravated vehicular hijacking include:

  • Auto theft while committing assault against an elderly person

  • Stealing a vehicle while a minor passenger (under 16 years old) is in the vehicle

  • Performing the act while armed with a dangerous weapon

  • Performing the act while armed with a firearm

  • Personally discharging a firearm in the act

  • Causing great bodily harm, maiming, or killing another person in the act with said firearm

Contact an Elgin, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

Auto theft accusations and charges are serious offenses. To navigate the complex legal matters surrounding them, contact a Kane County, IL vehicle theft defense lawyer. The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola can help you understand the charges and advise you on how to proceed. You should act quickly and call 847-488-0889 as soon as possible to begin mounting a defense for your case. We offer free consultations.

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