Archive for the ‘Theft’ Category
March 8th, 2017 at 10:43 am
There are certain types crimes in Illinois that are considered crimes of moral turpitude. This means that the actions involved in committing the crime run counter to society’s sense of morals. Generally speaking, crimes of moral turpitude involve acts of deception or deceit, and reflect poorly on one’s character or trustworthiness. Examples of crimes that are considered crimes of moral turpitude in Illinois include:
- Retail theft;
- Aggravated battery;
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol; and
Many people who commit forms of retail theft often do not think very deeply about the potential consequences they could face if caught and prosecuted under the law. Since no one is physically harmed by the crime of retail theft, many do not think of it as a serious offense or that a conviction could have a long-term impact on their life.
What Are Some of the Consequences of a Conviction for a Crime of Moral Turpitude?
If you are convicted of a crime of moral turpitude, you will face a number of additional consequences above and beyond the jail time and fine associated with your criminal conviction.
- You Could Face Deportation. A conviction for a crime of moral turpitude can have very serious impacts on someone who is not a United States citizen. A criminal conviction can mean that you will be deported and barred from reentering the country in the future. Similarly, lawful permanent residents can also be deported if they are convicted of a crime while in the U.S.
- You Could Have Trouble Securing a Job. If you have a criminal record that lists a crime of moral turpitude, it is likely that prospective employers might think twice before hiring you. It might be very hard to secure employment in certain industries, such as banking.
- You May Face Challenges Getting into School or Getting Licensure. A criminal conviction for a crime of moral turpitude tarnishes your image and can make it difficult to get into certain educational or vocational programs. Furthermore, there are several professional licensing agencies and boards that might refrain from granting you licensure, despite your qualifications because you have a criminal history for a crime involving moral turpitude.
Your best chance of getting through the aftermath of an arrest for retail theft is to work closely with an experienced Illinois criminal defense lawyer to build your strongest possible defense. If you and your lawyer can get the charges dropped or reduced, you will not be convicted and you can avoid deportation, jail time, hefty fines, and other long-term impacts of criminal convictions.
Let Us Help You with Your Case
Retail theft is a serious offense despite the fact that no one suffers any physical harm as a result of the crime. But when you steal something it is an act of dishonesty and a crime of moral turpitude. If you are facing retail theft charges, you need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows retail theft lawyer.
January 25th, 2017 at 9:12 am
Theft is one of the most commonly committed crimes in Illinois. Theft in the broadest sense involves someone knowingly taking property that belongs to another without permission and with no intention of giving the stolen property back to its proper owner. There are a number of criminal offenses that stem from theft, including:
- Petty theft. Petty theft is also known as misdemeanor theft. Petty theft occurs when the item that was stolen has a value of $500 or less.
- Shoplifting or retail theft. Shoplifting occurs when a person knowingly takes an item from a merchant without paying full price for the stolen item.
- Receipt of stolen property. Receipt of stolen property occurs when someone knowingly accepts property that he or she knows to be stolen.
- Stealing a motor vehicle. Stealing a motor vehicle arises when a person takes a vehicle belonging to another without permission.
- Robbery. Robbery occurs when a person takes property belonging to someone else by the use of force. Robbery can become aggravated robbery if a weapon was used as the threat of force.
- Burglary. Burglary occurs when a person knowingly breaks into a building belonging to another without permission to be there with the intention of committing theft of some other felony offense.
In many theft scenarios, law enforcement arrests whomever stands accused of committing the theft crime, and then the state prosecutor presses charges against the accused. Oftentimes, the state prosecutor will look at the evidence surrounding the alleged crime and will bring charges for every crime that might have been committed. To be sure, criminal defendants often face multiple charges for a single alleged crime.
Each theft-related crime has its own unique elements that must be proven by the prosecution in order to obtain a conviction. A skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney will demand that the prosecution prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the theft crime with which he or she has been charged.
You deserve fair treatment under the law and fair trial, and your criminal defense attorney should fight for your rights and on your behalf.
Knowledge and Intent Are Key Elements of Theft Crimes
A common thread shared by all theft-related crimes is that knowledge and intent are key elements to establish that the crime was committed.
- Knowledge means that the person who allegedly committed the crime knowingly did so.
- Intent means that the person who allegedly committed the crime has no intention of returning the property that he or she has taken from the rightful owner without permission.
The elements of knowledge and intent are often the prosecution’s weakest arguments, and a seasoned criminal defense attorney knows this. Many criminal cases turn on whether the criminal defendant had knowledge that he or she was stealing or whether the criminal defendant had no intention of returning the property that he or she had taken.
Call The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
Anyone who is facing theft-related criminal charges needs to consult with an experienced Rolling Meadows theft attorney immediately. Do not hesitate to reach out to us today for professional help with your case.
December 7th, 2016 at 8:57 am
During the holiday season there is a noticeable spike in the instances of retail theft. For whatever reason, people are more likely to shoplift in November and December than at any other time of the year. A higher rate of foot traffic in stores around the holidays makes it easier to commit retail theft. Moreover, there are a lot of pressures placed on people this time of the year, which can drive them to committing an act of shoplifting.
According to MarketWatch, the most commonly stolen items around the holidays in the United States include:
- Electronics and electronics accessories, such as cell phone cases, headphones, etc.;
- Winter or leather clothing;
- Meat, seafood, alcohol and chocolates;
- Children’s toys; and
- Perfume or cologne.
Ultimately, many of these items, such as electronics and electronic accessories, leather clothing, and some children’s toys, can be greatly valued. It is not uncommon for electronics to cost hundreds of dollars, which might be part of the reason why someone would steal these items from a store in the first place.
What is Felony Retail Theft in Illinois?
In regards to retail theft in Illinois, the severity of the crime depends on the value of the item, or collection of items, that is stolen. According to 720 ILCS 5/16-25, stealing an item from a store that is valued at more than $300 puts you at risk of being charged and convicted of felony retail theft. Simply stealing a cell phone, a handheld video gaming device, or an Apple product, would be valued high enough to charge you with a felony level offense.
Shoplifting can result in serious consequences. You will face jail time, be charged with a fine, and will have a criminal record that will follow you around for many years—a record in which future employers and landlords will likely find in a background check. Moreover, the consequences of getting caught shoplifting will also affect your family and loved ones, since they will need to help you through your arrest, trial, and possibly your jail sentence. The consequences extend even further than that as well. In order to make up for losses resulting from retail theft, retailers often markup the cost of items that they sell, which means that all customers have to pay higher prices.
Contact Us for Help with Your Case
Getting caught shoplifting can ruin your holidays. Not only will you be arrested and charged with a crime, but your family will also have to deal with the consequences of your actions, which can really dampen the holiday spirit. If you are facing shoplifting charges this holiday season, then you need to get in touch with an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
November 23rd, 2016 at 9:22 am
The most booming time of year for retailers is the end of the calendar year. With all of the shopping that goes along with the holiday season, retailers pull out all the stops and offer great sales to draw in customers. Retailers also engage in gimmicks to draw in business, such as two-for-one deals or Black Friday sales. Whatever retailers can do to get customers into their stores and spend money is all that matters this time of year. However, the end of the calendar year is also a time when retailers increase their store security efforts and monitor most closely for instances of retail theft.
With more customers in their stores, there is an increased likelihood that theft will occur more frequently. Customers might try and hide unsold merchandise in shopping bags they are carrying from other stores, and may try to simply walk out of the store without paying. Theft is a serious problem for retailers, so it makes sense that retailers would take extra precautions this time of year to catch people in the act.
Charged With Retail Theft
Retail theft is a serious crime in Illinois. Generally speaking, retail theft occurs when someone knowingly takes a piece of merchandise without paying the full price for the item. Under Illinois law, retail theft can take many different forms. For instance, it is retail theft if you:
- Take an item off the shelf and then conceal it in a bag or on your person, so that you can leave without paying for the item;
- Swap the price tags of a lower cost item and a higher cost item so that you can get the item for less than full price;
- Work with the cashier to under-ring up the item you are trying to get for less than full price;
- Modify the price tag on an item so that you can get it for a cheaper price;
- Lie to store employees to claim that a piece of merchandise is actually your personal belonging; or
- Use a theft detection shielding device to smuggle an item out of a store without paying.
When store security catches you stealing merchandise, they have a right to hold you and call the police. Once the police arrive, it is likely that you will be arrested and charged with retail theft. You do not have to speak to the police—speaking with them will only serve to incriminate you. You can instead request to speak to your lawyer.
Call The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
Being charged with retail theft charges can be frightening. If you have been arrested for retail theft, or any other form of theft, you need to speak with an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. We are here to help you.
November 9th, 2016 at 11:46 am
Committing Identity Theft
When most people think of identity theft they think of cyber hacking. However, identity theft is not just a crime that is committed by high-tech cyber thieves. Identity theft can occur when a person uses another individual’s personal identification information, such as one’s name, Social Security number, driver’s license, passport, credit card number, or other financial information, without permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.
Moreover, identity theft can be committed by stealing an individual’s mail and then completing credit card applications in the name of the victim. An identity thief may even open a new bank or a credit card account in a victim’s name or may change the mailing address of a victim’s existing account so he or she can use the account without the victim’s knowledge. When a thief uses an account without paying the bills, the delinquent accounts are noted on a victim’s credit report.
Additionally, there are many high-tech ways to commit identity theft. For instance, it is very common for an identity thief to hack into a victim’s email account or other online account to gain access to personal identifying information, which can be used for financial gain as well. It is also possible to purchase the personal identifying information of victims online through nefarious websites.
Potential Identify Theft Defenses
Identity theft is a serious criminal charge. It is a felony offense that carries lengthy jail time and substantial fines. Due to the seriousness of the consequences of being convicted for identity theft, it is important that, if you have been charged with identity theft, you fight the charges that are pressed against you. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you identify any potential defenses that you might have when you are charged with identity theft.
Accused of Being an Identity Thief? Get a Lawyer
Identity theft is a felony. Therefore, if you have been accused of identity theft, it is essential that you contact an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and your options. Please call 847-394-3200 to schedule your consultation today.
November 4th, 2016 at 7:00 am
Shoplifting is one of the most frequently committed theft crimes in Illinois. Shoplifting involves knowingly taking merchandise from a store without the intention of paying retail price for the item that is stolen. Shoplifting can take many forms, including taking physical possession of a retail item and removing it from a store without payment, altering or swapping out labels or price tags to get a desired retail item at a cheaper price, and swapping a retail item’s packaging for the packaging of another, less expensive item. If you have been charged with retail theft, regardless of whether it is a misdemeanor charge or a felony charge, you need to get in touch with an experienced retail theft criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
When Retail Theft Rises to the Level of a Felony
Many people who engage in retail theft do not think that the charges associated with their offense will be very serious. But this is a misconception. Even as a first-time offender, stealing something from a store that has a full retail value of more than $300 can result in a class 3 felony charge for retail theft.
Stealing something that is expensive, but small, leads to a felony level retail theft charge. It does not matter if the item is a phone, other electronics, jewelry, a watch, or designer sunglasses. If it costs more than $300, you will face felony level charges if you are caught stealing.
Felony Level Charges for Those With a Record of Theft-Related Offenses
Illinois law is stricter on those who commit retail theft and have already previously been convicted of any other form of theft. For instance, if someone who has been convicted of a theft crime in the past steals an item from a merchant that has a retail value of less than $300, he or she can be charged with felony retail theft, under 720 ILCS 5/16-25(f)(2). Similarly, second time offenders who get caught stealing retail merchandise by using a theft detection shielding device can be charged with a felony under 720 ILCS 5/16-25(f)(1). Or, second time offenders who get caught stealing retail merchandise by darting out an emergency exit door can be charged with a felony under 720 ILCS 5/16-25(f)(2).
Individuals who have a criminal history involving theft-related offenses, or who presently face retail theft charges, need to consult with an experienced attorney. Second-time theft offenders face a tough road when they are charged with retail theft and should not go down that road alone. An experienced criminal defense attorney will make sure that you are treated fairly under the law.
Let Us Help You With Your Retail Theft Charges
Retail theft charges are serious. Please do not delay and contact a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney for help.
October 20th, 2016 at 7:00 am
The crime of theft encompasses many different charges under Illinois law. Not only is it a crime to commit theft by being the person who knowingly takes property belonging to another without permission, which is the case in crimes such as vehicle theft or shoplifting, but it can also be a theft crime if you end up in possession of stolen property. Similarly, it is a crime to be involved in a complicated white collar theft or fraud plot, where you might not be the ringleader of the theft, but are still a beneficiary.
In Illinois, you can be charged with a theft crime even if you are not the person who took the property from its rightful owner. To say this another way, you do not have to be the person who physically commits the theft act; you could be a beneficiary or recipient of stolen property or money and still be just as criminally liable as the actual thief.
Many criminal defendants are often in disbelief when they are charged with a theft crime, especially when they are not the person who took the item or property in the first place. Regardless, these are serious charges that you face. Just like any other criminal offense, if you are charged with a theft charge for possession of stolen property, or receiving stolen property, you need to get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Possession or receipt of stolen property is a crime in , that is much akin to theft; the difference being that you may not be the person who actually took the property from its rightful owner. However, if you know, or have reason to believe that the property that is now in your possession is stolen, your possession of that property is considered a theft crime.
Punishment for Theft Crimes Depends on Value, Circumstances, and Past History
The punishment for theft crime varies and depends upon the seriousness of the theft. When the item stolen has a high value, the penalties are more severe than if the value of the stolen item is low. Someone who steals a car at gunpoint is going to face steeper penalties than someone who shoplifts a magazine. Similarly, when a theft crime is committed at a specific location, such as a church or school, or if the theft involves stealing from a particularly vulnerable victim, such as an old person, then the penalties for the theft can be enhanced. Punishment for a theft crime can also be enhanced if you already have a history of committing theft-related crimes.
Accused of a Theft Crime? Get a Lawyer
People make mistakes all the time, and if you are charged with a theft crime, whether it is shoplifting, stealing, or receipt of stolen property, you should speak with an experienced and skilled Rolling Meadows theft crimes lawyer. Do not hesitate to reach out to our office today for help.
October 11th, 2016 at 7:00 am
Stealing a motor vehicle is a serious offense in Illinois. There are several different theft crimes that involve the unauthorized taking of a vehicle, and state prosecutors do not take kindly to criminal defendants who allegedly take things that do not belong to them. Theft crimes involving a vehicle include stealing a car, trespass to a motor vehicle, carjacking, and failure to return a rental vehicle. If you are facing criminal charges that involve the theft of a vehicle, you need to get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Stealing a Car
In Illinois there is no specific statute focused directly on the theft of a vehicle. Instead, when a car is stolen state prosecutors pursue the criminal defendant under the traditional Illinois theft statute. Car theft is committed when a person knowingly takes a vehicle belonging to another without permission and with the intent to deprive the vehicle’s owner of the use of the vehicle permanently.
If a person takes a vehicle belonging to another without permission, but only intends to temporarily deprive the vehicle’s owner of his or her use of vehicle, such as when the vehicle is taken out for a joyride, then the criminal defendant could be charged with joyriding. This offense is also sometimes referred to as criminal trespass to vehicle. While not necessarily as serious as stealing a car, criminal trespass to a vehicle is not a criminal charge to take lightly.
Hijacking a person’s car by force or by the use of threats of force is known as carjacking in Illinois. Carjacking is a serious offense that can be upgraded to aggravated carjacking if certain other circumstances exist at the time of the carjacking incident. For instance, carjacking charges can be enhanced when aggravating factors exist, such as a firearm was used or discharged during the carjacking, a child under the age of 16 was in the vehicle at the time of the carjacking, a victim of the carjacking incident was over the age of 60 years old or was physically handicapped, or a victim of the carjacking was injured or killed by a firearm during the carjacking.
Failure to Return a Rental Vehicle
Whenever a person rents a vehicle, a term of his or her rental contract is the date and time that the rental vehicle must be returned to the rental agency. When a renter does not return a rental vehicle on time, the renter is in breach of his or her rental contract agreement. But not only that, the renter is also committing theft because he or she is depriving the rental agency of the use of the rental vehicle.
Accused of a Vehicle Theft Offense? Contact a Lawyer
Any theft crime is a serious matter, but theft crimes involving a vehicle are particularly serious. If you have been charged with the crime involved in the theft of a vehicle, please do not hesitate to contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately. We are available to help you today.
October 6th, 2016 at 5:20 pm
Delivering a forged check, a check that is not signed by the real owner of the checking account or a check that is fabricated or altered in some way, is considered to be a deception-based criminal offense under 720 ILCS 5/17-1(B). When a person tries to pass off a forged or fake check as if it were a real check, the person is trying to knowingly defraud the check’s recipient in order to financially benefit from the deception. Check forgery is a form of theft.
What is Required to Prove Check Forgery?
Someone who is facing charges for check forgery in Illinois will be mercilessly prosecuted by the state. In order to get a check forgery conviction, the state prosecutor must show:
- That the defendant knowingly made or altered a check;
- The purpose of defrauding another;
- Where the check was made or altered to look like it was issued by another; and
- That the check was delivered or issued to recipient of the check with the intent to defraud the check’s recipient.
You can be charged with check forgery even if you do not actually defraud someone. To say this another way, if the check’s recipient, or someone else, figures out that the check is forged before cashing it or does not believe that the check is authentic, you can still be charged with check forgery. Merely handing over a forged check to the check’s intended recipient is enough to be charged with check forgery.
What Are Some Typical Defenses to Check Forgery Charges?
There are a number of different defenses that can be raised against check forgery charges, and which defenses are appropriate for your particular circumstances will depend on your situation. You should consult with an experienced lawyer to get a better understanding of what defenses may be available to you. Typical defenses to check forgery charges include:
- That the criminal defendant did not know that he or she was issuing a forged check;
- That the criminal defendant lacked the intent to defraud or deceive the check’s recipient;
- That the criminal defendant was too young to know the harm in what he or she was doing by forging the check, i.e., infancy—the offender was under the age of 13;
- That the criminal defendant was forced to make the forged check, i.e., the criminal defendant was under duress;
- That the criminal defendant was mentally unstable at the time the check was forged; and
- That the criminal defendant was a victim of identity theft and his or her name was used to forged checks.
Accused of Check Forgery? Get a Lawyer
If you have been charged with check forgery or any other theft crime, it is important that you get in touch with an experienced theft attorney as soon as possible. Please contact a passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately. Our office is available to help you today.
August 24th, 2016 at 2:56 pm
In Illinois, retail theft under 720 ILCS 16-25 is a crime that is taken seriously by businesses, law enforcement, and the courts. It is a crime that is committed so regularly that certain stores hire their own security guards to help combat and prevent retail theft from happening. You could be stopped and detained by store employees or store security if you are suspected of shoplifting. You could also be arrested by police. But what is the difference between being detained by store security and being arrested by law enforcement?
Store Security and Employees Have Limitations
While store employees and security have the legal ability to hold a shoplifting suspect, their ability to do so is limited under the law. You can be detained by a store’s security or employees on for a reasonable length of time and in a reasonable manner. Store security is not required to read you your rights, wait for a parent or guardian, or wait for a lawyer before questioning a suspected shoplifter. However, police are required to do these things when you are placed under arrest.
Detention can occur either on or off of the merchant’s premises. During the detention, security may:
- Request you to identify yourself,
- Verify your identity,
- Inquire about whether you have in your possession merchandise that you have not purchased, and do not intend to pay for,
- Report you to the authorities, and
- Attempt to contact your parents or guardian if you are a minor.
Each of these is at the merchant’s discretion. In the case of a minor, the merchant is not required to contact his or her parents before handing the minor over to law enforcement.
Detention is not the same as being arrested – only the police are capable of arresting you. Stores sometimes choose to let a suspect go and not press charges. Many stores simply ban an individual accused of shoplifting from ever entering the store again. Other times stores decide that the police should be involved and detain the suspected shoplifter until police arrive and make an arrest.
When you are placed under arrest, law enforcement must read you your Miranda rights. These rights inform you that you are in custody of the police and that you have the right to remain silent and that you can get a lawyer. The exact format of Miranda rights vary from state to state, but generally the Miranda warning covers these basic points. You will next be taken to jail and booked.
When you are arrested for retail theft, it is absolutely critical that you only consult with a lawyer before telling police anything because your lawyer can advise you on how best to protect yourself, your rights, and your freedom.
Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
There is a difference between being detained by store security and being arrested by law enforcement. If you are facing retail theft charges, you need the help of an experienced retail theft lawyer. Please contact a Rolling Meadows shoplifting attorney immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847) 394-3200.