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IL shoplifting attorney, IL defense lawyerShoplifting, officially known as retail theft in Illinois, is a very common crime. When it occurs, the person is often caught by store clerks while they are still on the property. In these cases, the store has a few options. They can simply ask for their merchandise back and allow the person to leave. Most of the time when this happens, the person is also banned from returning to the store. The store could also detain the person for a period of time before allowing them to leave. Or, in the worst-case scenario, they could call the police and press charges.

Many times, the store will let you go if you are caught shoplifting merchandise with a very small value. However, they may still send you a demand letter requesting that you pay them a fine. The question is, should you?

Is a Civil Demand Letter Binding?

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IL defense lawyer, Illinois criminal defense attorneyMany people use the terms theft, robbery, and burglary when referring to theft crimes. While these crimes do have similarities, they also have their differences. Of these, the most significant are the penalties you will face if charged. Due to this, it is important you understand the differences between these different crimes.

Theft

The Illinois Criminal Code of 2012 defines three circumstances that could constitute theft. These include:

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Posted on in Theft

IL defense lawyerBurglary is a serious felony offense, regardless of the value of the property taken, unlike theft, which is often a misdemeanor crime if the value of the property taken was low. For example, stealing a bike would be considered a misdemeanor of petty theft if the value of the bike was only $300, as per Illinois statute 20 ILCS 5/16-1. If that same bike was stolen out of someone’s residential garage, the crime would automatically be upgraded to a felony. Why is this? Burglary is considered a crime of violence, and the offense is punishable as such.

Types of Buildings, Structures, and Vehicles that Involve Burglary

Burglary is defined as knowingly entering, or without authority remaining, in any of the following:

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Posted on in Theft

fraudA Chicago man allegedly scammed potentially dozens of people by selling them counterfeit concert tickets. He was recently caught after he sold a woman two $125 Imagine Dragon tickets on Craigslist, who took the tickets to the concert in June only to learn that they were “very good fakes,” according to the ticket checker. The woman later reported the defendant’s license plates to the police, who discovered that they were the plates of a rental car rented by the defendant’s friend and loaned to him. The defendant, who is under investigation for selling numerous counterfeit concert tickets, has five prior convictions for forgery, counterfeiting, and fraud in Texas and Illinois. A number of charges can be slapped onto those who sell counterfeit tickets.

Forgery Charges for Producing or Possessing a Counterfeit Ticket

Under Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/17-3, forgery has been committed when a person knowingly commits any of the following:

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Posted on in Theft

Chicago theft and larceny defense attorneyLarceny, more commonly referred to as theft, occurs when a person knowingly obtains the property of another with the intention of permanently depriving the owner of their property, as per 720 ILCS 5/16-1. The degree of larceny or theft that an individual is charged with depends on the value of the property taken. Larceny charges do not include robbery, armed robbery, burglary, carjacking, or other crimes of violence, which are punished more severely than larceny offenses.

“Grand” larceny or “grand” theft is commonly thought of as the threshold between a misdemeanor and a felony charge, though in Illinois that language is not specifically used. Illinois law classifies various degrees of larceny on a scale described below, with the highest felony classification for theft being a Class X felony, which can result in decades behind bars.

  • Class A Misdemeanor – The property taken is valued at $500 or less. Punishment includes a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $2,500.
  • Class 4 Felony – The property taken is valued at $500 or less and was taken from a school or place of worship. Punishment includes a prison sentence of one to three years, with a maximum fine of $25,000.
  • Class 3 Felony – The property taken is valued at $500 to $10,000. Punishment includes a prison sentence between two and five years and a fine of up to $25,000.
  • Class 2 Felony – The property taken is valued at $10,000 to $100,000, or it is valued at $500 to $10,000 and was taken from a school or place of worship. Punishment includes a prison sentence between three and seven years and a fine of up to $25,000.
  • Class 1 Felony – The property taken is valued at $100,000 to $500,000, or it is valued at $10,000 to $100,000 and was taken from a school or place of worship. Punishment includes a prison sentence between four and 15 years and a fine of up to $25,000.
  • Class 1 Felony Non Probationary – The property taken is valued between $500,000 and $1 million. Punishment includes a prison sentence of up to 30 years and a fine of up to $25,000.
  • Class X Felony – The property taken is valued at over $1 million, or it is valued at more than $100,000 and was taken from a school or place of worship. Punishment includes a prison sentence between six and 30 years a fine of up to $25,000.

Restitution

In addition to the fines listed above, the victim can also seek repayment for the value of the property that was stolen and the financial losses they suffered as a result of larceny. This is referred to as restitution. For example, a victim whose pickup truck was stolen may have lost $4,000 in revenue because their small landscaping business went without a truck for a month, and they may have lost $4,000 in productivity during the time period it took to purchase a new vehicle or have theirs returned to them. Thus, they may claim restitution of $8,000.

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