Tag Archives: shoplifting

St. Charles theft charges defense attorney

One of the most common criminal offenses committed by otherwise law-abiding citizens is retail theft or shoplifting. It is estimated that approximately 1 out of every 11 individuals in the United States has shoplifted at some point in their lives. Many people justify stealing items from a retail store by stating that it is a victimless act or that it is not an actual “crime.” However, shoplifting is considered a serious criminal offense in Illinois. A person convicted of retail theft may be subject to a range of criminal penalties, including potential jail time. If you or a loved one has been charged with shoplifting, do not take these charges lightly. Talk to a criminal defense attorney experienced in theft cases to receive the legal help you need.

What Is Shoplifting?

Shoplifting is typically thought of as taking an item from a store and then simply leaving the store without paying for it. This is the most straightforward way to avoid paying for an item. Often, a person may conceal the item in his or her clothing, purse, backpack, or bag, and they may then quickly walk out of the store. However, there are many other ways that shoplifters steal from retail stores. Some people remove price tags from expensive items and replace them with price tags from lower priced items. Others work with a store employee to get away with not paying for items. For example, a cashier may allow a friend to steal from the store by intentionally failing to ring up certain items during checkout.

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Geneva shoplifting defense attorneyShoplifting, the act of stealing from a retailer, is also known as retail theft. Like many other offenses, shoplifting is a serious criminal charge. Although the penalties for a shoplifting conviction are often not as steep as they are for other theft convictions, it is always worth your time to fight a shoplifting charge, because being convicted of shoplifting will subject you to certain civil and criminal penalties. In addition, a conviction on your criminal record can impact the potential penalties for any future charges that you may face. 

If you are facing a shoplifting charge, you should start working on your legal defense strategy with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. The defense strategy you create will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. Below are a few potential strategies you may be able to use when you are facing a shoplifting charge:

It Was an Innocent Mistake

People make mistakes. You might accidentally walk out of a store without paying for an item because you were distracted or because the item was nestled among other items you paid for. Your defense strategy could involve demonstrating that you did not intentionally take an item without paying for it, or at least showing that there is not enough evidence to show you intentionally stole the item.

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St. Charles retail theft defense lawyerYou might think that only law enforcement has the right to detain individuals suspected of criminal acts. This is actually untrue. Shopkeeper’s privilege is a store owner’s legal right to detain you for a reasonable amount of time, question you, and call law enforcement to potentially make an arrest if he or she suspects that you have committed a criminal offense, such as shoplifting, in the store. 

Although a store owner or employee may detain and question you in this situation, they do not have the same authority as law enforcement. When you are held for longer than is appropriate for the situation, you may have grounds for a false imprisonment claim against the store owner.

When Can a Shopkeeper or Security Guard Detain Me?

You may only be legally detained in a store when the following circumstances occur:

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Naperville criminal defense lawyer, shoplifting, criminal defense strategy, stealing merchandise, misdemeanorShoplifting is a form of theft. Like other forms of theft, such as identity theft and fraud, many different actions constitute an act of shoplifting. In its most basic sense, shoplifting is the act of stealing merchandise from a retailer. Stealing money from a retailer is not an act of shoplifting, though stealing merchandise is a roundabout way of stealing money. Breaking into a store to steal from a cash register or forcing a cashier to hand over cash under threat of violence are burglary and robbery, respectively.

Below are four different ways an individual can commit the offense of shoplifting. In Illinois, shoplifting can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the item allegedly stolen.

Concealing Items in Clothing or a Purse

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retail theft, shoplifting, Naperville criminal attorney, felony crimes, felony, misdemeanor, retail theft misdemeanor, stealing, Illinois law, St. Charles Illinois lawyer, forgery, residential burglary, blocking security devices, removing bar codes, Class 4 felonyIt could be necessity, desperation, mistake, or even thrill seeking that leads to shoplifting. Whatever the motivation, you may be better prepared to deal with the dread and embarrassment you feel as the store’s security team takes you aside, than with the legal trouble that follows. Depending on the value of goods taken, retail theft, also known as shoplifting, can be a misdemeanor or felony under Illinois law. You could face both criminal and civil penalties. You do not even have to plead guilty or be convicted in order to be sued in civil court.

Basics of Retail Theft

The crime of retail theft involves more than just taking something, hiding it, and trying to leave the store. The following actions are all considered part of retail theft:

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