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Illinois Has One of the Lowest Felony Theft Monetary Thresholds in the Country

April 25th, 2016 at 9:23 am

Illinois felony theft, Rolling Meadows Shoplifting LawyerIllinois has one of the lowest felony theft monetary thresholds in the country. Stealing an item that is valued at $500 or more can land you a felony theft charge under 720 ILCS 5/16-1. While it makes sense that Illinois and law enforcement would want to take a firm stance on theft crimes, it makes less sense how seriously they take low-level theft offenses compared to other crimes and compared to how other states handle the same crime.

Stealing something small but valuable, such as a smartphone, watch, or piece of jewelry, could result in a felony theft charge in Illinois. However, only a misdemeanor charge would result in other states. While each state has the authority to define its criminal statutes the way that state legislatures see fit, felony charges for the theft of an item worth $501 is overkill, in the view of many individuals. When you are facing criminal charges for theft or retail theft, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

A recent article published by the Insider Online compared how different states handle felony theft, and analyzed what measures states, particularly Illinois, could take that could help state’s save on correction costs. The article called for reform to Illinois’s felony theft laws, largely because of how Illinois’ felony theft law seems to be lagging when compared to other states, and because Illinois does not regularly adjust the felony theft monetary thresholds to reflect inflation.

How Do Illinois’ Felony Theft Laws Stack Up to Other States?

This is not to say that the Illinois legislature had completely ignored felony theft. In 2010, the felony theft threshold was raised from $300 to $500. However, a $500 threshold is still remarkably low compared to some other states that have a felony theft threshold of $1,000, or even $2,500. Not only that, but by not taking inflation into account periodically, Illinois’ felony theft laws gradually become increasingly punitive over time as the value of the item increases due to inflation.

Addressing Victims’ Concerns With Theft Law Reforms

The article acknowledges citizens’ and victims’ concerns that raising the felony theft monetary amount would encourage criminals to steal more expensive items, and more frequently. But according to a study conducted by the Pew Charitable Trusts, there is no notable correlation between increasing felony theft monetary limits and an increase in property-related theft crimes. In fact, theft crime activity overall has been on the decline over the past few decades, largely due to improvements in technology, such as security monitoring technology which discourages theft in the first place, that help law enforcement to identify and apprehend offenders quickly and efficiently.

Let Us Assist You Today

If you are facing misdemeanor or felony theft charges, or retail theft charges, you need the help of an experienced theft lawyer. Please contact a dedicated Rolling Meadows shoplifting attorney for assistance with your case. We can begin helping you immediately.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=36500000&SeqEnd=39200000

http://www.insideronline.org/reader.php?id=46yq

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Written by Staff Writer

April 25th, 2016 at 9:23 am

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