Illinois Vehicular Hijacking

The Law – 720 ILCS 5/18-3

A person commits Vehicular Hijacking when he or she knowingly takes a motor vehicle from the person or the immediate presence of another by the use of force or by threatening the imminent use of force.

Not too long ago, there were no vehicular hijacking laws on the books in Illinois. Prior to 1993, any hijacking of a vehicle would be charged as Robbery (or Armed Robbery, depending on if a weapon was used). However, the General Assembly passed a law in 1993 addressing the serious nature of having a vehicle removed from an individual’s possession by the use, or the threat of the use, of force.

The Vehicular Hijacking law and the Robbery law mirror one another, with the exception of the property being taken. The nature of the property being taken is not the only difference between the two laws, however. Sentencing between the two offenses is different as well. While the ordinary Robbery charge is a Class 2 Felony, the ordinary Vehicular Hijacking charge is a Class 1 Felony.

Furthermore, just as is the case with Robbery, the Vehicular Hijacking law prohibits an individual from taking a vehicle from the person’s “immediate presence.” Thus, if an individual approached a person while that person was standing outside of their car, and the individual takes the car, the individual can still be charged with, and convicted of, Vehicular Hijacking.

The Sentence

  • Class 1 Felony
  • 4 to 15 years in state prison
  • Fine up to $25,000

Probation Possible? No.

Supervision Possible? No.

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