Consequences of Shoplifting and Retail Theft in Illinois
Most people would consider shoplifting to be a minor crime, but even small time theft like shoplifting can have serious consequences. Shoplifting and other types of retail theft involves more than just taking something without paying for it.
Different Types of Retail Theft
Illinois does not have a statute titled shoplifting. Instead, shoplifting is classified under the retail theft provisions of the law. The statute makes it illegal to take or obtain merchandise from a retail establishment with the full retail value of the merchandise.
This means that retail theft is more than just taking something and leaving the store without paying for it. Actions such as price switching, exchanging merchandise that was stolen, or trying to confuse a cashier and get the wrong change back are additional forms of retail theft.
Penalties for Retail Theft
The criminal penalties for retail theft are tied to the value of the property that is stolen or the amount the retailer is short changed. Anything worth less than $300 is a Class A misdemeanor. The penalty is up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
If you have a criminal history involving theft, then retail theft can be charged as a Class 4 felony. This crime could be punishable by between three to six years in prison.
If the value of the property stolen is more than $300, the crime could be charged as a Class 3 felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
It is unusual for most retail theft crimes to be punished by the maximum sentences.
Other Consequences for Retail Theft Arrests and Convictions
The consequences for a retail theft conviction, or even an arrest, go beyond just the fines and jail or prison time. Once you have a criminal record, especially a felony record, it can make it difficult to obtain a job or a professional license.
The retailer can sue you civilly for the costs associated with dealing with the theft, even if they get the item back. You can be sued even if you are not criminally convicted.
Once you have been accused of committing any form of retail theft, the retail store will likely ban you from the premises. If you return to the store, even as a paying customer, you can be arrested and charged with criminal trespassing.
If you have been charged with retail theft, then you need to speak with an experienced and knowledgeable Wheaton criminal defense lawyer. Do not talk to anyone about your case until you speak to a lawyer. You have the right to a vigorous defense. Call Davi Law Group, LLC today to schedule a consultation at 630-580-6373.