Context is important in almost any situation. A word or phrase that is used interchangeably in everyday conversation cannot necessarily be used in the same way in the legal system. One such example of this is the use of the words theft, robbery, and burglary. Though many people use these terms to mean the same thing during personal conversations, these refer to separate criminal charges when used in legal situations. There are specific differences between the three crimes, and they each come with their own punishments. This is why it is important to know the differences if you have been charged with any of these crimes.
According to the Illinois Criminal Code, a person commits theft when he or she:
- Obtains unauthorized control over property; or
- Uses threat or deception to obtain control over property; or
- Obtains control over property, knowing the property was stolen; and
- Intends to permanently deprive the owner of the use or benefit of the property
Sentencing for a theft charge depends on the situation surrounding the theft, how much the stolen property was worth, and whether or not the property was taken directly from a person. Charges can range from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class X felony....