Shoplifting Under Illinois Law
Shoplifting, or what is commonly referred to as retail theft, occurs when you take something that does not belong to you from a store or other type of business. While it may seem minor in nature, it is a negative mark on your criminal history that you may have to disclose to prospective employers. The reality is that any criminal conviction involving theft or deception will only have negative repercussions for you, your family, and your future. Fortunately, with the help of experienced Illinois criminal defense lawyers, you may be able to avoid a negative result.
Defining Retail Theft Under Illinois Law
Retail theft can take a number of forms, but always involves an individual who takes something from a retailer that does not belong to him or her. Some common examples of retail theft are as follows:
- You simply take property from a store that you haven’t paid for, and isn’t yours;
- You deceive the owner of the property in order to take the property;
- You threaten the owner of the property in order to take the property; or
- You possess property that has been stolen when either you know it is stolen or you should reasonably believe that it is stolen.
Criminal Penalties for Retail Theft
If you unlawfully take property that is worth less than $300, the retail theft charge is a Class A misdemeanor. A misdemeanor conviction can include a jail sentence of up to one year, as well as other penalties, such as fines. On the other hand, if the property is worth more than $300, the retail theft charge is a Class 4 felony. A felony conviction under Illinois law can result in a jail sentence of more than one year, as well as significant court costs and fines. Whether you have been convicted of other criminal offenses in the past also will help determine the penalties that you can potentially receive for a retail theft conviction, as well as whether you used the emergency exit to a store in order to commit the offense.
Civil Penalties for Retail Theft
Additionally, even if you are never convicted of retail theft or any crime, you might still face civil liability for the incident. This means that you would have to repay the full retail price of the property involved, additional fines of between $100 and $1,000, attorneys’ fees, and court costs.
Contact Our Attorneys Today
Shoplifting or retail theft is a common criminal charge that many people face, often in error. We are here to look into the facts of your case, assess the evidence against you, and build a strong defense to the charges that you are facing. Avoid a permanent stain on your criminal record and get the legal advice that you need. Whether you are facing shoplifting charges or another type of criminal charge, be sure to consult with an experienced Illinois criminal defense lawyer. Contact the passionate Naperville criminal defense attorneys of Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC and learn how we can help.