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Jim Reilly
Jim Reilly, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 1805
Experience:  California lawyer since 1976.
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Can I go to jail for hiding a car up for repossession in i

Customer Question

Can I go to jail for hiding a car up for repossession in illinois
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 8 years ago.
Hello ladydemona & welcome to JustAnswer.

A repossession is a civil proceeding carried out by private persons. Hiding a vehicle from a private repossessor is not a crime, so you cannot go to jail for doing so.

On the other hand, hiding the vehicle is not a long-term practical solution of the financial issues leading to the repossession. You will have to act as quickly as you can to get the payments current, even if you are successful in hiding the car from the repo man.

Thanks for asking your question here on JustAnswer & good luck with this situation.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
<p>Some info I have gotten is that I can get arrested for hiding the repossessed car. Is this merely a state by state law. There's something I read about concealment of property being a felony in illinois.</p>
Expert:  BizAttorney replied 8 years ago.
I lived in Indiana and had read cases about this. You can hide your vehicle, however they can come and get it so long as they do it peacefully. If you come out and see your car being towed, just make a huge deal of it and start yelling. That way the court will make their repossession invalid and give you back the car.

Ultimately, you are going to have to give back the car or pay what you owe. It won't last forever. Good luck and I hope this helps!

The statute below is what you were talking about, but as you can see, does not apply to your set of facts.

720 ILCS 5/16-1

(a) A person commits theft when he knowingly:

(1) Obtains or exerts unauthorized control over property of the owner; or
(2) Obtains by deception control over property of the owner; or
(3) Obtains by threat control over property of the owner; or
(4) Obtains control over stolen property knowing the property to have been stolen or under such circumstances as would reasonably induce him to believe that the property was stolen; or
(5) Obtains or exerts control over property in the custody of any law enforcement agency which is explicitly represented to him by any law enforcement officer or any individual acting in behalf of a law enforcement agency as being stolen, and
(A) Intends to deprive the owner permanently of the use or benefit of the property; or
(B) Knowingly uses, conceals or abandons the property in such manner as to deprive the owner permanently of such use or benefit; or
(C) Uses, conceals, or abandons the property knowing such use, concealment or abandonment probably will deprive the owner permanently of such use or benefit.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Can the finance company request a warrant to be issued for failure to give up the car?
Expert:  BizAttorney replied 8 years ago.
No, only the police can get a warrant and that has to be for something criminal.
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 8 years ago.

In a few states, it is a crime to conceal property subject to a security interest for the purpose of preventing enforcement of that security interest (Georgia, for example). There is no such law in Illinois.

"Concealment" of property can be a felony in Illinois only if it was obtained by theft to begin with, and then only if you have knowledge of the fact that the property was stolen.

Thanks again for asking your question here on JustAnswer.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
When I first got behind on payments, I tried to pay what I owed with late fees with the finance compnay but they wouldn't accept it. If I do decide to turn it in how do I go about doing it since I'm located in another state.
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 8 years ago.
Hello again ladydemona,

I am frankly surprised that the finance company would not accept payments, particularly if you were willing to bring the payments current, including their late fees. They had little to gain from refusing the payments. Of course, now that you are in another state, it just makes it that much more difficult for them to find the vehicle and repossess it.

If you decide you want to turn it in, I suggest you have someone else call the finance company and, without letting them know your name, ask if they have a local (that is, near where you are located) office. If so, then call that office and arrange to turn in the vehicle.

Keeping in mind that you will still owe whatever deficiency remains after they sell the car to someone else (and that they will make little or no effort to protect your interests in that regard). If you still have the means of bringing the payments current, including all interest and late fees, you might be better off making another effort to do so -- perhaps even using a lawyer to make contact with the finance company on your behalf. This will mean paying the attorney's fee, but even that would almost certainly be less than you will ultimately lose by turning the vehicle in. Never mind that you will then have no vehicle and no easy way to get another one.

Good luck dealing with this difficult situation.
Jim Reilly, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 1805
Experience: California lawyer since 1976.
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