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Tag Archives: felony theft

DuPage County criminal defense attorney retail theft

While the holiday season is usually a time of peace and joy, running into trouble with the law can cause difficulty for a person and his or her family during this time. Theft is an issue that can affect many people during the holidays, and it can take multiple different forms. Retail theft often increases during the holiday shopping season due to crowded stores. Package theft, in which items are stolen from a person’s porch or doorstep, is also likely to occur during the holidays, especially in 2020, when many people are shopping from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who have been accused of committing theft should be sure to understand the specific criminal charges that may apply, and they will want to secure legal representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help them determine how they can achieve a positive outcome to their case.

Criminal Theft Charges in Illinois

The penalties for a conviction on theft charges will depend on the circumstances of the theft and the value of the property that was allegedly stolen. Under Illinois law, a theft involving property that is not taken directly from a person is a Class A misdemeanor if the value of the goods is $500 or less. However, for goods valued between $500 and $10,000, this type of theft is charged as a Class 3 felony. 

When considering charges of package theft, the value of items that were allegedly stolen will often fall under $500, and a conviction can result in a prison sentence of up to one year and fines of up to $2,500. However, if a stolen package contained electronics or other goods worth more than $500, a conviction could result in a prison sentence of two to five years and fines up to $25,000.

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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 theft charges attorneys, felony theftThe Illinois legislature is considering two bills that would raise the dollar amount that triggers felony theft charges. The proposals would raise the felony minimum from items valued at $500 to $2,000 or $2,500, depending on the bill.

Supporters of the Bills

Supporters of the bill argue that the $500 threshold amount is too low. For example, stealing an iPhone could be considered a felony theft charge. The threshold amount should be raised to keep up with the rising cost of consumer goods.

Supporters point out that 29 states set the felony theft minimum at least twice as high. For example, Wisconsin and Texas law provides that theft of an item valued below $2,500 is a misdemeanor.

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Wheaton criminal defense attorney, stealing a car, Illinois car theftOne of the key elements in charging most crimes is the intent of the person accused of committing the crime. When a crime is committed, your intention can make all the difference—not only with regard to the crimes you are charged with, but also in what the prosecutor will be able to prove in court. One area where intent is particularly important is when a car goes missing.

What is Car Theft? 

In Illinois, car theft is handled under the state’s general theft law. There is not a special statute for motor vehicle theft. The theft statute requires the intention to permanently deprive the rightful owner of the use or the benefit of the property. Permanently depriving the owner of the use or the benefit of a car may take many different forms. Taking a car and selling it to someone else would be considered theft. Taking a car and then driving it into a lake would also be considered theft. Both of these actions show that there was an intention to permanently deprive the owner of his or her car.

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