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Defenses to Retail Theft

August 16th, 2019 at 9:51 am

IL shoplifting lawyer, IL defense attorneyIn May, a woman was sentenced to four years in prison after being convicted of stealing pillowcases from the Mattoon Walmart on July 4 of last year. Her charge was upgraded from a misdemeanor to a felony due to past convictions. No agreement between the defense and prosecution could be reached regarding her sentencing after she pleaded guilty.

The penalty was a harsh one, and one many people face when they are accused of retail theft. Some people face worse. It is because of this that when a person is facing charges of retail theft, they often imagine the worst. However, if you have been charged, it is important to understand there are defenses available.

Lawful Ownership

It is not uncommon for people to shop at the same store time and time again. When they have visited a store in the past and purchased something, they often return to the same store with the same product. The store owner or staff may see the item and accuse a person of retail theft, even though they had purchased it in the past.

Lack of Intent

Sometimes, people shop for many things at one time. Things become cluttered and a person may not realize they still have an unpaid item in the bottom of their cart, or elsewhere that is not readily visible. Upon leaving the store, the store owner or staff may accuse them of trying to steal the item, even though the individual had no intent to do so.

Impaired Mental State

If a person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time they are accused, it could provide the defense that they did not understand they were committing a crime. This sometimes goes hand in hand with lack of intent. For example, someone that is drunk is much likelier to forget they are holding something in their hand when they leave a store than a sober person is.

Additionally, if someone suffers from a mental disability, the defendant can argue they were not aware they were committing a crime.

Mistaken Identity

Like any other crime, sometimes store owners, staff, and law enforcement simply get it wrong and charge the wrong person. This often happens in retail theft cases. Store owners or staff see someone steal an item and follow them into a shopping center or parking lot where there are many people nearby. Sometimes they simply mistake the identity of an innocent person for someone that stole something from them. When the only evidence in these cases is the store owner’s word against the accused, law enforcement may lay charges.

Call a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Attorney for Help with Your Case

Retail theft is taken very seriously in Illinois, and can carry very harsh sentences for those convicted. If you have been charged, you need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows theft attorney. At the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we know not everyone accused of a crime is guilty. After reviewing your case, we will prepare a solid defense for you to give you the best chance of a positive outcome. Call us today at 847-394-3200 or fill out our online form for your free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://jg-tc.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/woman-gets-years-in-prison-for-stealing-pillow-cases-from/article_f561050f-2cf9-5e35-b8e7-1505bb441453.html

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=072000050HArt.+16,+Subdiv.+10&ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=39600000&SeqEnd=40100000

 

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Written by Staff Writer

August 16th, 2019 at 9:51 am

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