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What makes a grand theft auto a felony in Illinois?

On Behalf of | Nov 23, 2021 | Criminal Defense

In Illinois, when you take somebody’s property without their consent or with the intention of permanently depriving them of their property, the court recognizes that action as theft. The punishment will depend on the circumstances surrounding the case and the value of the property you’ve stolen. Therefore, let us look at what makes a grand theft auto a felony.

Grand theft auto in Illinois

Grand theft auto is when you take someone else’s car without their permission and have no intention of giving it back. The word “grand” is added before auto theft because cars are relatively expensive. In Illinois, the threshold that distinguishes petty and grand theft is if the value of the property stolen is $500.

What makes grand theft auto a felony

While the threshold for theft to become grand is $500, the act of stealing becomes a felony if the value of the item stolen is $1000 or higher. Moreover, the underlying circumstances can worsen the penalties of the crime. For instance, if you steal an old car or bike and its current value is less than $1000, but you take it from government property, school, or place of worship, something that would have been a Class A misdemeanor will become a Class 4 felony theft.

Penalties for grand theft auto in Illinois

Most autos are worth $1000 and above, so typically, any auto theft will become a felony. Unless the car or motorbike is under $1000, the Illinois courts will take it as a Class A misdemeanor theft. Class A misdemeanor theft penalties are a jail time of not more than one year and a fine of up to $2,500.

A class 4 felony as described above could land you up to 3 years in prison, victim restitution, and a fine of $25,000. Class 3 felony theft (the car’s value is between $1000 and $10000) leads to 5 years in prison, victim restitution, and a $25,000 fine. Class 2 felony (an auto value ranging from $10,000 to $100,000) is punishable by seven years in prison, victim restitution, and a $25,000 fine. Penalties for class 1 felony ($100000 to $1,000,000) is 15 years in prison, victim’s restitution and $25,000 fine.

Many factors determine penalties for auto theft. However, the chances of grand auto theft becoming a felony are incredibly high.