Defining Theft in Illinois
“Oh yeah, it was like taking candy from a baby.” Comments like these tend to give the illusion that committing theft is a straightforward action with little or no repercussions. However, that is not the case. According to the Illinois General Assembly, a person has committed theft when he or she knowingly:
- Obtains or exerts unauthorized control over property of the owner;
- Obtains by deception control over property of the owner;
- Obtains by threat control over property of the owner;
- Obtains control over stolen property knowing the property to have been stolen; or
- Obtains or exerts control over property in the custody of any law enforcement agency
Under these guidelines, theft is committed more often than one would imagine. Because of this, it is critical to be familiar with the specific laws and consequences surrounding theft. One of the most common forms of theft that is committed is retail theft. There are a few different ways to commit retail theft, but the most general form it takes is when an individual, according to shopliftingprevention.org, “takes possession of, carries away, transfers or causes to be carried away or transferred, any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale in a retail mercantile establishment with the intention of retaining such merchandise or with the intention of depriving the merchant permanently of the possession, use or benefit of such merchandise without paying the full retail value of such merchandise.” Under Illinois law, theft can be classified anywhere from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class X felony, depending on the circumstances. Consequences vary depending on the classification of the sentence. If you or somebody you know has been charged with theft, you do not have to face it alone. Contact an experienced Illinois criminal attorney to assist you in presenting the best defense possible.