Crimes of theft in Illinois are defined as the taking another person’s property with the intent to permanently withhold that person the use or benefit of the property. There are many different types of theft crimes in this state and the exact theft charge you receive depends on the circumstances surrounding your case. The value of the item that is taken plays a major role in theft crimes. For example, in Illinois, the retail theft results for charges involving stolen property that is worth below $300.00, is considered a misdemeanor. Whereas, retail thefts involving stolen property valued at over $300.00 is considered a felony. As you will read below, the theft crime penalty depends on a variety of situations, such as how the item is taken, where the item is taken from and from whom the item is taken. These charges are the most common types of theft related charges in Illinois:
Theft (720 ILCS 5/16-1)
In Illinois, a person commits theft when he or she knowingly does one of the following:
(1) Obtains or exerts unauthorized control over property of the owner; or
(2) Obtains by deception control over property of the owner; or
(3) Obtains by threat control over property of the owner; or
(4) Obtains control over stolen property knowing the property to have been stolen or under such circumstances as would reasonably induce him or her to believe that the property was stolen;
(A) Intends to deprive the owner permanently of the use or benefit of the property; or
(B) Knowingly uses, conceals or abandons the property in such manner as to deprive the owner permanently of such use or benefit; or
(C) Uses, conceals, or abandons the property knowing such use, concealment or abandonment probably will deprive the owner permanently of such use or benefit.
As you can see, theft requires a person to know they are taking property of another and intending of depriving the property’s owner of the use and benefit of that property.
The punishment for theft in Illinois varies and is determined by several factors. Theft of property not from the person themselves (which would be robbery) and not exceeding $500 in value is a Class A misdemeanor. On the other hand, theft of property exceeding $500 and not exceeding $10,000 in value is a Class 3 felony. The punishment for theft goes up in severity according to the increased value of the property taken.
Retail theft (shoplifting)
(720 ILCS 5/16-25) Retail theft.
A person commits retail theft when he or she knowingly:
(1) Takes possession of, carries away, transfers or causes to be carried away or transferred any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale in a retail mercantile establishment with the intention of retaining such merchandise; or
(2) Alters, transfers, or removes any label, price tag, marking, indicia of value or any other markings which aid in determining value affixed to any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale in a retail mercantile establishment and attempts to purchase such merchandise at less than the full retail value; or
(3) Under-rings with the intention of depriving the merchant of the full retail value of the merchandise; or
(4) Removes a shopping cart from the premises of a retail mercantile establishment without the consent of the merchant; or
(5) Uses or possesses any theft detection shielding device or theft detection device remover
(6) Theft by emergency exit. A person commits theft by emergency exit when he or she commits a retail theft and to facilitate the theft he or she leaves the retail mercantile establishment by use of a designated emergency exit.
Retail Theft in Illinois can result in serious consequences for an offender. A violation of any part of this statute for which the full retail value of which does not exceed $300 for property is a Class A misdemeanor, however the second offense of retail theft is automatically upgraded to a Class 4 Felony. Theft by emergency exit of property, the full retail value of which does not exceed $300, is a Class 4 felony.
If you are convicted of a crime involving theft, you face penalties including prison time, costly fines, or community service hours. Additionally, your reputation and record could be permanently tarnished. This criminal record will make the small things, like procuring a loan, getting accepted into college, and getting a job, extremely difficult. When your reputation and freedom are on the line, don’t leave your conviction up to chance without contacting the Law Offices of Peter W. Lewis.
At the Law Offices of Peter W. Lewis, we understand that the outcome of your criminal case will determine many important aspects of your future. We understand how serious your situation is, and you can count on us to provide you with the best advice and legal counsel available. You can have confidence in our defense decisions knowing that we are drawing on years of criminal defense experience and knowledge.