The Definition and Laws of Larceny in Illinois

Naperville criminal defense attorneys, laws of larcenyAlthough theft is a common catch-all term, some states have separate laws for theft and larceny. Illinois is not one of those states. Both theft and larceny are defined in Illinois as offenses against property. The state uses the phrase “anything of value” to define exactly what property means. In Illinois, more than 290,000 property crimes occur every year.

The most common examples of property are money, real estate, and tangible possessions. However, under Illinois law, the actual scope of property is much broader. Based on the definition of property, this term can refer to anything from things of value growing on an owner’s land to written instruments concerning labor.

How to Determine if Theft or Larceny Has Occurred in Illinois

There are five primary criteria used to determine if theft or larceny has occurred in the state of Illinois. The first four criteria relate to illegal ways that someone may obtain control of property from its owner. Those criteria are taking this action through unauthorized means, deception, threat, or knowing that property was already stolen. The fifth criteria is almost exactly the same as the fourth; however, it includes a specific provision for the involvement of a police officer.

If any of those five criteria are believed to have occurred, one of three other conditions must also be present before the state of Illinois can charge an individual with the crime of theft. All three conditions are slight variations of there being intent for the theft to permanently deprive the owner of the property’s use or benefit.

It is worth noting that if any of the first five criteria are present and accompanied by one of the other three conditions, it is considered theft regardless of the value of the property. While the value of property does not play a role in determining whether or not an action is classified as theft, it does impact the sentencing for this crime.

Is Theft in Illinois Different Than Robbery?

Yes, the state of Illinois classifies theft and robbery as two different crimes. The difference between the two classifications is that robbery involves the use of intimidation or force. Since theft is a crime that does not involve intimidation or force, it is considered the lesser of the two offenses.

What Are the Penalties and Sentences for Theft in Illinois?

Thefts involving property worth less than $500 at the time the crime was committed are classified as Class A misdemeanors. This charge is increased to a Class 4 felony if the theft occurred at a place of worship, school or on government property. The other classifications for this crime range from a Class 3 to X felony depending on the amount of the theft.

In terms of sentencing, it is important to understand that even a Class A misdemeanor has the potential to include jail time. As such, whether you were charged with simple theft or a more serious classification of theft, you need a skilled criminal defense attorney to represent you.

Let our skilled Naperville criminal defense attorneys assist you if you are facing theft charges in Illinois. Contact our office today for a consultation and to learn how we can be of assistance.