Archive for the ‘retail theft’ tag
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.
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 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.
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.
December 30th, 2015 at 10:18 am
The holiday season is a big time for accusations of shoplifting and retail theft to arise. Stores are packed with people, and purchase items might accidentally get placed in a purse, or might not get paid for. Retailers are on high alert and are extra accusatory this time of year, but when a person stands accused of stealing merchandise when they are innocent, it is a problem. Shoplifting under Illinois law is usually a misdemeanor offense, but when the value of the allegedly stolen item is more than $300 or the accused is a repeat offender, the charges can be upgraded to a felony. When you are facing shoplifting and retail theft charges, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help protect your rights.
Defense Strategies for Shoplifting Charges
When it comes to shoplifting charges, a criminal defense lawyer who normally handles shoplifting cases can help you identify the best defense strategy that is available to you. Some more common shoplifting criminal defense strategies involve the following:
- The Value of the Item Allegedly Stolen Does Not Support the Charges. The item that is allegedly stolen has a value, and charges, and thus punishments, are usually based on the value of the stolen item. When evidence exists that the item was in fact taken by the defendant, a good strategy is to argue that the charges are incorrect and should be downgraded to a lesser offense.
- Lack of Evidence to Support the Charges against the Defendant. If there is insufficient evidence that the defendant shoplifted, then the case against the defendant should be dropped at the preliminary hearing of grand jury phase of the case, if applicable. When there is no video evidence, or no witness that can positively identify you as the suspect, there is a strong possibility that the case will be dismissed for lack of evidence.
- Lack of Probable Cause. Many people who are accused of shoplifting are detained by store security, and their personal items are searched for the allegedly stolen merchandise. But in order to subject the accused to these invasions, the security officer or store representative must have probable cause that the accused committed shoplifting. This means that there must be some evidence that the defendant committed the crime.
Defending against Shoplifting Charges Is Important
A shoplifting conviction will go on your permanent criminal record and you will have to face the punishments associated with your crime. That is why it is so important to consider every aspect of the case and explore every defense strategy that is available to you.
Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
Many people are accused of shoplifting. Retail theft could be accidental, or it could just be a mistake or a moment of poor judgement. Regardless of what the situation might be, if you are facing shoplifting charges, you need the help of an experienced retail theft lawyer. Please contact a skilled Rolling Meadows defense attorney at our office immediately. We are prepared to assist you with your case.
November 5th, 2015 at 8:49 pm
Many people do not realize that the crime of retail theft takes multiple different forms. For instance, retail theft under 720 ILCS 5/16-25 occurs whenever someone in Illinois knowingly:
- Takes something from a retailer without paying. The most typical form of retail theft involves taking an item from a retail establishment where the item was for sale, with the intent to keep the item, and thus deprive the store of the item, without paying for it.
- Changes or removes the price tag. Altering the price tag or labeling of an item so that it appears that the item costs less than it actually does, and then taking advantage of the misrepresentation to obtain the item for less than it costs, is a form of retail theft.
- Swaps Packaging. Taking one item out of its packaging, and placing it in the packaging of another, cheaper item, in order to pay the lower price, is a form of retail theft because the seller loses out on the full retail value of that mispackaged item.
- Under-rings an item. Some retailers allow customers to ring up their own items at checkout. If a person falsely rings up an item for a lower price than the retail value, it is a form of retail theft.
- Misrepresents that an item is his or her own property. If a person is confronted by store management or security for suspected shoplifting, and if the person misrepresents to their confronter that the item is actually theirs, when it is not, it is a form of retail theft. This includes misrepresentations such as returning an item for store credit that was never paid for in the first place.
- Removes an anti-theft device from an item, or uses a theft detection shielding device. It is impermissible to remove an anti-theft device or use a shielding device in order to remove an item from a retailer’s property without paying for it.
- Steals a shopping cart. Shopping carts belong to the retailer, and people are permitted to use them so long as they are not taken from the property.
- Takes possession of leased property but does not pay the rental value/full retail value for it. When you rent a place to live, the living space is often furnished with appliances, such as refrigerators, microwaves, etc. Taking these items upon move out, without paying for them is a form of retail theft because the rental property is a business.
Defending against Retail Theft Charges
What is important to note about retail theft crimes is that the person must commit the theft knowingly. There are a number of instances where a person might not know or realize that they are taking the property of another, or from a retailer. For instance, an item might accidentally fall into an open purse, or a child might playfully hide an item in a purse or jacket, not realizing or understanding that the item might not get paid for. There are instances where an item is placed in a compartment under the shopping cart and that item is forgotten during checkout. A person could also mistakenly ring up an item incorrectly by mistakenly entering a UPC code or bar code.
Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
If you stand accused of retail theft and have been formally charged, you should contact an experienced theft attorney immediately. Please contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847) 394-3200 for assistance.
February 11th, 2015 at 8:04 am
Many people think of shoplifting or retail theft as a relatively minor crime. In Illinois that is absolutely not the case. Shoplifting in Illinois will lead you in serious need of an experienced criminal defense attorney. In order to avoid finding yourself in that position, you should understand exactly what retail theft is and how it is punished in our state.
What is Retail Theft?
Generally speaking, what most of us call shoplifting is a type of retail theft. Illinois statute defines retail theft as one of the following actions:
- Takes merchandise with the intent of keeping it or depriving the merchant of it permanently without paying for the merchandise;
- Alters or removes a price tag or similar marking in an attempt to pay less for a piece of merchandise;
- Transfers merchandise from one container to another in an attempt to deprive the merchant of the full retail value of the merchandise;
- Under-rings merchandise with the intent to deny the merchant of the full retail value;
- Steals shopping carts;
- Knowingly lies to a merchant claiming that the person owns property so he or she can sell the property to a merchant;
- Uses or possesses theft detection shielding devices or theft detection device removers; or
- Keeps property that should have been returned by a lessee.
There is also an additional related crime called “theft by emergency exit” that involves using an emergency exit to commit retail theft.
What is the Punishment for Retail Theft?
Usually, for a first offense where the value of the property does not exceed $300 (or $150 if the property is motor fuel) the crime will be considered a Class A Misdemeanor. A second offense can be a Class 4 felony. The prior offense in these cases can be for a wide variety of stealing-related offenses. If the value of the property is greater than $300 then it is a Class 3 felony. Violations relating to the theft detection shielding devices or theft detection device removers are Class A misdemeanors for a first offense, but upon a second offense they can be a Class 4 felony. Theft by emergency exit is a Class 4 felony if the value of the property does not exceed $300. If the value of property is greater than $300 it becomes a Class 2 felony.
Each of these classes of crime is given a range of punishment under the Unified Code of Corrections. The misdemeanor sentences are less than one year in jail. The felonies can carry hefty prison terms, however. Class 4 felonies carry a term of one to three years in prison. Class 3 felonies carry a range of two to five years. The Class 2 felonies carry a range of three to seven years.
Call an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are charged with retail theft or any other type of criminal offense, you will need an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer. You should call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. When you call us at (847)394-3200 we can schedule an appointment to go over the facts of your case and figure out how we can best be of help.
September 4th, 2014 at 7:37 am
Being charged with the crime of retail theft in the state of Illinois is a serious matter. Not only can such charges have criminal penalties, but they can have consequences that can affect other areas of the offender’s life, as well. These consequences often include the ability to obtain employment, qualify for housing, and be approved for a loan, among other things. Taking all of this into account, it is clearly important to consult with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney for those who are charged with the crime of retail theft.
Grading of Charges
The severity of the charges an offender will face depends on both the value of the item or items stolen, as well as any prior criminal history of the defendant. The crime of retail theft can be graded as a misdemeanor or a felony, and the potential jail time and fines an offender may face varies with the severity of the charges. First-time offenders for retail theft, whose case does not exceed a value of $300, will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum jail term of one year and up to a $2,500 fine. If the value exceeds $300, the offense will be considered a Class 4 felony, even if it is just a first offense. Such a graded offense is punishable by a maximum jail term of three years and a fine of up to $25,000.
Those arrested for retail theft may have several options available to them by which to resolve their case. What options available, if any, are largely dependent on the specific facts and circumstances of each individual case. Some courses of action to consider, particularly for a first-time offender, include:
A supervisory sentence. This means that the defendant will be placed on a period of court supervision with certain conditions in place. If the offender abides by the terms and conditions of his or her supervision and is not arrested again, the charges may be dismissed.
First offender programs. This would include diversionary programs, as well as deferred prosecution. Through discussion and negotiations between the defense attorney and the prosecutor, an agreement may be able to be reached by which the charges are held open while the defendant completes certain classes or programs aimed at rehabilitation. With proof of the program’s completion, the prosecution may be willing to dismiss the charges. In addition to, or in lieu of, this type of program, an offender may be required to complete a certain amount of community service before the prosecution will agree to dismiss the case.
Plea bargaining. This is usually an option by which the defendant agrees to plead guilty to certain charges in exchange for a reduction in charges or a lighter sentence. Such agreements hinge on the discretion of the prosecutor, and must be approved by the judge before they become final.
Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or someone you know has been charged with the crime of retail theft or shoplifting, the experienced Illinois criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of Christopher M. Cosley can assist you with your case. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. We serve clients in Cook County and the surrounding area.
April 14th, 2014 at 4:20 pm
Shoplifting is typically a crime committed by citizens who follow the majority of other laws. The National Association for Shoplifting Prevention reported that between 2001 and 2006, roughly 10 million people were caught shoplifting. It is also estimated that almost 10 percent of all Americans shoplift.
The National Self Help & Support Center defines shoplifting as “theft or stealing of any kind from a retail store…taking merchandise from a retail store without paying for it or without intending to pay for it.”
What’s important to know is that shoplifting laws are different in every state and many laws also vary between each local jurisdiction as well. This post is specific to Illinois
If you have been caught shoplifting for the first time, you should call a criminal attorney to help you get a lighter penalty for your first offense. Many factors will be considered when the court decides what your sentence will be including if you have completed an education program and if you have shoplifted previously.
Information from the store where you have been accused of shoplifting will also be accounted for such as what you stole and what occurred when you were caught. Whether or not you had a proper ID when you were caught will also be included.
Another detail that is taken into account it how much you shoplifted, the value of the item(s) that were stolen. Typically, the offense is less serious and only considered a misdemeanor if it costs under $500. However, if the cost exceeds $500, the charge may escalate to a felony and have more serious consequences.
It is possible to get community service, be sentenced to an education program related to shoplifting, or some other form of sentence other than prison if the charge is not extreme.
Also note that you do not have to be the person who actually took the merchandise from the store to be charged if you are with someone when they have shoplifted. You may be seen as an assistant to the shoplifter.
Lastly, shoplifting occurs in many forms including changing the price tag on an item and buying for an incorrect price. You can also be charged for shoplifting if you are sampling foods that you have not paid for as you shop. For example, if you are walking through the produce section of a grocery store and you pick a few grapes off of the bunch and eat them that is a chargeable offense.
If you have been charged with shoplifting, contact a criminal attorney to help you in an Illinois court today. Even if you have been wrongly accused or the charge is small, an attorney can help you get a better or alternative sentence today.