Can I Be Charged With Theft for Possessing Stolen Property in Illinois?

St. Charles theft defense attorney

When most people think about the criminal offenses of theft or stealing, they assume that a person can only be charged with theft if he or she actually takes something from someone else. However, under Illinois law, you can also be charged with theft for receiving stolen property or being in possession of property that was stolen. You may not have been the person who committed the act of taking the property from a store, residence, or other location, but you may still face criminal charges for the theft. Therefore, if you or someone you know is accused of this crime, it is essential that you have professional legal representation.

Illinois Law Regarding Theft

The term “theft” can refer to a wide range of actions, including burglary, shoplifting, carjacking, larceny, embezzlement, extortion, identity theft, and fraud. According to Illinois statutes, theft occurs when a person knowingly:

  • Takes control of another party’s property without the property owner’s consent

  • Takes control of another party’s property through threat or deception 

  • Acquires property that he or she knows is stolen or acquires property through circumstances that would “reasonably induce him or her to believe that the property was stolen”

Many theft charges involving receipt of stolen property hinge upon whether the defendant knew or should have known that the property was stolen. In order for a defendant to be convicted of theft for being in possession of the stolen property, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant either knew the property was stolen or that a reasonable person would have known the items were stolen.

Penalties for Theft in Illinois

The criminal consequences for theft depend on the circumstances of the alleged crime and the value of the goods that were allegedly stolen. If the property is not taken directly from another person, and the value of the property is $500 or less, theft is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine up to $2,500. Retail theft is typically a Class A misdemeanor as well. Theft of property that is worth between $500 and $10,000 is a Class 3 felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine up to $25,000. However, if this theft occurs in a place of worship or a school, or if the stolen property was owned by the government, this is considered a Class 2 felony offense, punishable by up to seven years in jail. Theft of property valued between $500,000 and $1 million is a Class 1 felony, and an offender will not be eligible for probation. This is punishable by 4 to 15 years in jail and up to $25,000 in fines. Theft of property exceeding $1 million in value is a Class X felony with a mandatory sentence of 6 to 30 years prison.

Contact a St. Charles Theft Defense Lawyer

You can be charged with theft for taking someone else’s property or for simply being in possession of the stolen property. If you are convicted of theft in Illinois, you could face a significant prison sentence and a variety of other consequences, including a permanent criminal record. Speak to a diligent Illinois criminal defense attorney so that you can start building a solid defense against theft charges as soon as possible. The Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC has handled many complex cases involving misdemeanor and felony charges, and we know what it takes to clear your name. Call us today at 630-232-1780 to schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss your case.