Bill Would Raise the Threshold Amount for Felony Theft
The 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.
A Pew Charitable Trust study found that the minimum amount has no overall impact on crime rates. The study looked at 28 states that raised the threshold amount between 2001 and 2011. The study also concluded that states that increased the minimum felony amount reported about the same decrease in crime as the states that left their theft laws the same.
Supporters also argue that sending nonviolent offenders to prison is expensive for taxpayers and is ineffective. It costs $22,000 per inmate per year to keep an offender in prison. This reform would help meet the governor’s goal of reducing the state prison population by 25 percent by 2025.
Proponents also point out that putting an offender in jail does nothing to address the victim’s loss. A better punishment may be to have the offenders pay the victims directly.
Arguments in Opposition to the Bills
Retailers are the biggest opponents of the bill. They assert that at least $2 billion in merchandise is stolen from stores in Illinois annually.
Not only does this hurt retailers, but the state and municipalities lose out on sales tax revenue estimated at $125 million. The retailers believe that keeping the threshold limit low will deter theft.
Contact a Wheaton, IL Theft Charges Lawyer
The skilled DuPage County, IL theft charges attorneys at Davi Law Group, LLC stay up to date on all criminal law developments so that we can best represent our clients. Under the current law, being accused of theft of an item valued over $500 is a felony, which means you could face jail time. These are serious charges that require the aid of an attorney. Davi Law Group, LLC can be reached at 630-580-6373, and we have office locations that serve DuPage, Kane, Cook, Kendall and Will counties. Call to set up your initial meeting today.