Cook County Carjacking Defense Lawyer

An Award-Winning Defense Attorney to Represent You throughout Will County, DuPage County, and Kane County

Carjacking, or hijacking a motor vehicle, is strictly prohibited in Illinois and can lead to serious consequences. If you have been accused of carjacking, reach out to The Law Office of William Wolf, LLC immediately for legal counsel. 

Depending on your situation, Attorney William Wolf may be able to argue for mitigated charges, if not a not-guilty verdict or acquittal. Attorney Wolf has received numerous awards for his defense work, including from the Illinois Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and he has also published a number of papers on criminal procedure. 

For a criminal allegation as complex as carjacking, it is in your best interests to work with an attorney who has the experience and knowledge to craft a strategic defense for you.

Contact The Law Office of William Wolf, LLC for a free consultation to learn more. Spanish and Italian services available.

What Constitutes a Crime of Vehicular Hijacking?

According to Illinois law, a person commits the crime of carjacking (vehicular hijacking) when they knowingly take a motor vehicle from another person or in the immediate presence of another person. Note that in order to bring forward a criminal charge of carjacking, the prosecutor needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant used force or threatened to use force. They also need to show that the defendant had the knowledge of and intent to commit the crime.

If the offense involved one of the following factors, it will be charged more severely as aggravated vehicular hijacking:

  • the alleged victim is an elderly person 60 years or older;
  • the alleged victim has a physical disability;
  • the vehicle had a passenger younger than 16 years old;
  • the offender was armed with a dangerous weapon or firearm;
  • the offender discharged a firearm;
  • the offender fired a firearm and caused great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement, or death.

Is Carjacking a Felony in Illinois?

Yes, Vehicular hijacking is considered a Class 1 felony punishable by 4-15 years in prison. Aggravated vehicular hijacking is a Class X felony punishable based on the specific circumstances of the violation:

  • Carjacking involving an elderly victim or handicapped individual – 6-30 years in prison
  • Carjacking involving a passenger 16 years or younger – 60-30 years in prison
  • Carjacking with a dangerous weapon – Class X felony penalties with a mandatory minimum of 7 years in prison
  • Carjacking with a firearm – Class X felony penalties with a possible additional 15 years in prison
  • Discharging a firearm while carjacking – Class X felony penalties with a possible 20 years added to the prison term
  • Discharging a firearm while carjacking and causing great bodily harm or disfigurement – Class X felony penalties with 25 years to life in prison added to the prison term

A conviction for carjacking will also remain on a defendant’s permanent record, accessible by employers and certain other individuals. 

Possession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle in Illinois

Not only is it a crime to actually steal, or hijack, a motor vehicle, but it is also a crime to be found in possession of a stolen car. Under Illinois law, a person can be charged with Possession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle if they receive or transfer a vehicle that they know to be stolen, alter a vehicle identification number (VIN), or receive or transfer a vehicle whose VIN they know to be altered. Note that this means the prosecution must prove the defendant had knowledge of the stolen nature of the vehicle; it is not sufficient to bring forward a charge merely based on the fact that the vehicle in question happens to be stolen or the VIN altered.

If the defendant is proven to be guilty of possessing a stolen motor vehicle, they may be charged with a Class 2 felony punishable by 3-7 years in prison, revocation or suspension of their driver’s license, restitution paid to the original owner of the vehicle, and community service. 

Let The Law Office of William Wolf, LLC Defend You

Do not hesitate to consult an experienced defense attorney for legal guidance if you are facing criminal charges for vehicular hijacking. After all, if you have been unfairly accused, you have a variety of defense options at your disposal, including arguing a case of mistaken identity, consent from the vehicle owner for you to use the car, or a lack of force. Attorney William Wolf has decades of experience representing defendants and can strategize the most effective solution for your situation.

Schedule a free consultation with The Law Office of William Wolf, LLC to discuss your case in more detail. Bilingual services in Italian and Spanish available.

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