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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 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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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.

What is Porch Piracy?

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DuPage County retail theft defense attorney, retail theftEvery year after the holidays, without fail, retail stores complete an inventory process. With the results of these inventories matched with the sales logged into their systems, owners and managers sometimes discover staggering amounts. No, the shocking numbers are not the sales they made after the holidays—these numbers are generally calculated each night after closing.

However, what is discovered are figures which indicate how much product walked out the door without being purchased—i.e. theft. The realization leads to an increase in security measures, which leads to a rise in theft accusations. Understanding charges empowers individuals to combat their cases.

What is Theft?

As schoolchildren, the lesson to not take something that is not yours is often taught; taking something that is not yours is stealing. As adults or young adults, the terms of stealing are laid out for us.

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