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Category Archives: Theft

DuPage County criminal defense attorney retail theft

It is not uncommon for someone to try to test the limits at least once in his or her life. For some individuals, this may involve stealing a low-priced item. Perhaps you put a candy bar in your pocket or slipped a cheap bottle of nail polish in your purse. Technically, you have committed a criminal offense, though the charges would be minor since the price of the item stolen is so low. The proper legal term for shoplifting is known as retail theft and there are actually a number of ways that this crime can be committed. Depending on the price of the item taken, the criminal charges can vary from a low-level misdemeanor to a serious felony in Illinois.

What Is Considered Retail Theft?

Illinois legislation names several different actions that all fall under the category of retail theft. Some of these descriptions are fairly obvious, while others you may not have known are considered theft at all. All of the following actions are considered retail theft and you can face criminal charges for knowingly doing any of the following:

  1. Taking possession of, carrying, or transferring merchandise, without paying the full price, in order to deprive the owner of the item.

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DuPage County shoplifting defense attorneyBoth retailers and law enforcement take theft very seriously in Illinois. It may seem like a victimless crime, but retail theft hurts the store, and in turn, the economy. If you are caught trying to steal an item from a store, simply paying for the item will not get you off scot-free. Many stores are now pursuing prosecution for shoplifters, and you can be charged with a misdemeanor, or even a felony, depending on the situation.

What Is Retail Theft?

The Illinois Criminal Code of 2012 provides detailed information about criminal laws in Illinois. According to the code, general retail theft occurs when a person takes possession of any merchandise that is displayed or for sale in a retail establishment without paying for the merchandise and with the intention of depriving the retail establishment of the use or benefit of that merchandise. General retail theft is considered to be a Class A misdemeanor if the value of the merchandise is less than $300. In Illinois, Class A misdemeanors carry a sentence of up to one year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines.

Other Ways of Committing Retail Theft

The crime of “retail theft” includes more than just taking an item off a shelf. If you are caught committing any of the following offenses, you can be charged with retail theft:

  • Price Switching: If you alter, transfer, or remove the price tag or label of an item, with the intention of depriving the merchant of the full value of the item, you commit retail theft. 
  • Removing a Shopping Cart: Shopping carts are the property of the store in which they are in. If you remove a shopping cart from the premises without the permission of the merchant, you can be charged with retail theft.
  • False Returns: Trying to return an item that you do not actually own in order to obtain cash or gift cards is considered a crime and will lead to retail theft charges.
  • Possessing a Theft Detection Shielding Device: You can also be charged with retail theft if you use or possess a device meant to shield a product from tripping alarms or sensors when it is taken from a store. Possession of the device is a crime in and of itself because it abets someone in committing theft.

A DuPage County Retail Theft Defense Attorney Can Help

If you have been charged with any form of retail theft, it is imperative that you get help from an experienced and knowledgeable Wheaton, IL retail theft defense lawyer. Often, retail theft will be charged as a misdemeanor crime, but in certain cases, it can lead to felony charges. At the Davi Law Group, LLC, we have extensive experience helping those who have been accused of shoplifting in Illinois. Contact our office today by calling 630-580-6373 to set up a free consultation.

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IL defense lawyerThe National Association for Shoplifting Prevention says around one of every 11 Americans is a shoplifter. Minors account for 25 percent of shoplifting crimes, while adults make up 75 percent. Some 55 percent of adult shoplifters say they started in their teens.

While the Christmas shopping season now underway is the most profitable time of the year for retailers, it is also the busiest shoplifting time on the calendar. Some people steal for themselves, others do it for presents, and some sell what they steal at a discount for 100 percent profit.

No matter the reason, retail security is already out in force to bust thieves. Here is a look at retail theft laws in Illinois. If you or your loved one faces theft charges, a criminal defense attorney can help.

Shoplifting Laws in Illinois

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Wheaton shoplifting lawyer,  sweethearting, sweetheart shoplifting, theft, Illinois shopliftersShoplifting is an epidemic throughout our country. Some individuals convicted of the crime explain they only did it to feed their families, indicating a community failure to aid those in need of assistance. Others do it for the sheer thrill of the experience. No matter the reason, statistics show shoplifting is only caught once in 48 incidents. Despite these dismal numbers, management watches security cameras only 1 percent of the time, enabling a new rise in shoplifting by customers and employees alike. 

Sweetheart Shoplifting 

“Sweethearting” is the term coined for incidents where an alleged thief pays for some but not all of his or her items. This maneuver is completed solely by the shopper, or while working in conjunction with the cashier. The two most common situations include the following:

  • The shopper puts all but a few items on the conveyor belt for the cashier to scan, leaving one or two unnoticed items in the cart, thus walking out of the door without paying for those items; or
  • The cashier gives the customer a “sweetheart” of a deal by intentionally not scanning all of the merchandise, either by bypassing the scanner or covering the barcode.

How Big is the Problem?

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retail theft, DuPage County retail theft defense lawyer, holiday shoplifting, retail theft conviction, retail theft crimesChristmas is less than two weeks away, and most of us are now finishing up on our holiday shopping. Unfortunately, beginning around Black Friday and ending near Christmas Eve, far too many instances of retail theft occur. Being accused of shoplifting, price-switching, or other forms of retail theft can come with very serious consequences.

How Many People Shop During the Holiday Season?

Over 174 million Americans shop in-store and online from Black Friday to Cyber Monday. On Black Friday, around 77 million consumers shop for the holidays, and 55 million consumers go holiday shopping on Small Business Saturday. On average, Americans will spend around $967 for holiday gifts. Overall, holiday sales will equate to around $682 billion this holiday season.

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Abraham Lincoln A lawyer’s time and advice are his stock and trade. -Abraham Lincoln
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