Vehicular hijacking is something many people only see in movies or in video games. Because of this, many people fail to appreciate just how serious this criminal act is and how harsh the consequences of a conviction can be. It is a crime that is often portrayed as a means to an end or as a way to add excitement to a scene.
In reality, however, vehicular hijacking is a very serious offense in Illinois. Any person accused of this act could be facing felony charges and very harsh penalties that could cause permanent damage to a person's criminal record, future and freedom.
According to Illinois laws, vehicular hijacking is a specific charge and not one that will just be considered robbery. It is a Class 1 felony that could result in a maximum prison sentence of 15 years. Other robbery offenses can be classified as a Class 2 felony, which means shorter maximum sentences and lower fines.
If a person is accused of carjacking, it will need to be proven that he or she took a motor vehicle from another person by force or by threatening to harm the owner or occupant of the vehicle.
The charges can be escalated to aggravated vehicular hijacking if, during the taking of the vehicle, the alleged carjacker is in possession of a weapon or uses a firearm. If the vehicle from whom the car was taken was elderly, disabled or under the age of 16, the aggravated charges would also apply. A conviction on aggravated vehicular hijacking charges can result in prison sentences between seven years and a life sentence.
Many people fail to appreciate the fact that carjacking charges can be extremely serious because it may not seem like it when this action is used for entertainment purposes. It is a violent offense for which a person can be aggressively punished. Any person facing charges related to vehicular hijacking would be wise to assess the situation and possible defenses with an attorney.