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RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 13868
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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If you stole a car but they got it back can they charhe you

Customer Question

If you stole a car but they got it back can they charhe you for it
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for using Just Answer. I look forward to assisting you.

Yes, you can still be charged with the theft. The fact that the car is recovered is irrelevant, the criminal act is accomplished when a person steals or attempts to steal the vehicle. In fact, even if you reach into an open car window, unlock the car door, sit down and then change your mind and exit the vehicle, you could still be charged with attempted theft, because the intent still existed.

If you need clarification or additional information, please REPLY, and I'll be happy to assist you further. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Any way to not go to jail for for the thefft? Or will i go to jail?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also how long does car theft carry
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.

The potential penalties will vary by state as each state has different laws, though jail time isn't typically mandatory -meaning a person COULD get probation, potentially. I need some more information from you, please. First, what state was this in? Do you have a prior criminal record? And if so, what have you been convicted of?

Also, can you give me a brief idea of what happened? You suggested that the car was recovered, what exactly went on?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Illinois, yes, burglary 3rd
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.

Here's the Illinois Code on burglary:


(720 ILCS 5/19‑1) (from Ch. 38, par. 19‑1)
Sec. 19‑1. Burglary.
(a) A person commits burglary when without authority he knowingly enters or without authority remains within a building, housetrailer, watercraft, aircraft, motor vehicle as defined in the Illinois Vehicle Code, railroad car, or any part thereof, with intent to commit therein a felony or theft. This offense shall not include the offenses set out in Section 4‑102 of the Illinois Vehicle Code.
(b) Sentence.
Burglary is a Class 2 felony. A burglary committed in a school or place of worship is a Class 1 felony.
(Source: P.A. 91‑360, eff. 7‑29‑99; 91‑928, eff. 6‑1‑01.)

I'm not sure how you were charged with a Class 3 felony, when it is listed as a Class 2 felony. Nevertheless, under Illinois’s laws, a class 3 felony is punishable by two to five years’ imprisonment, while an extended term class 3 felony is punishable by five to ten years in prison. (730 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/5-4.5-40.) An extended term can be given by judges for a variety of reasons, such as if a person has a prior criminal record, or if the victim was over 60, for example. In Illinois, conviction for a class 2 felony can result in a prison term of three to seven years, or seven to 14 years for an extended term. (730 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/5-4.5-35.).

There is no minimum mandatory sentence, however, meaning a judge could also give a person probation, like I was saying.

If you do not have a lawyer yet, you will at least want to consider having a consultation with a criminal defense lawyer before your first court appearance. Many offer free or low cost consultations, and there is no obligation to hire them. However, a lawyer can go over all of the facts with you and give you a better idea of what they feel the outcome would be, possible issues and defenses, etc.

Your first court appearance will be your arraignment, where you are expected to enter a plea to the charge. There's never usually any benefit to pleading guilty since the state has the burden of proof anyway, so you may wish to plead not guilty (you can always change your plea later if advised to do so by your lawyer and you feel it is in your best interest). The court will then ask you if you have an attorney or you can tell the court you need a lawyer if you cannot afford one.

Your lawyer can request all of the evidence that the state has (called "discovery") which will help determine how strong a case they have against you and your best approach. If there doesn't appear to be a strong defense, they may discuss with you the idea of negotiating with the prosecutor to reduce the charge and/or minimize the penalties against you.