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Chicago Shoplifting Lawyer

Shoplifting Defense in Cook County, Illinois

Serious consequences are attached to the crime of shoplifting, which is also called Retail Theft in Illinois. First, there are criminal penalties that increase in severity according to the value of the items taken. Second, there is the negative impact a conviction could have on your future and present employment. A future prospective employer might not want to hire you with a shoplifting conviction on your record, and your current employer could possibly fire you.

If you have been arrested or charged with shoplifting, do not discuss your case with anyone, and retain legal counsel from an experienced Chicago shoplifting lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest.

Penalties for Shoplifting in Illinois

Here are the possible punishments if you are charged with stealing from a store, organization, or other non-person.

Statutory penalties under 720 ILCS 5/16-1:

  • Theft under $500 – Class A misdemeanor
  • If from school, place of worship or governmental agency under $500 – Class 4 felony
  • Theft between $500-$10,000 – Class 3 felony
  • Theft between $10,000 – $100,000 – Class 2 felony
  • Theft between $10,000 - $100,000 if place of worship or governmental agency – Class 1 felony
  • Theft between $100,000 - $500,000 – Class 1 felony
  • Theft if exceeds $100,000 from place of worship or governmental agency - Class X felony
  • Theft between $500,000 - $1 million – non probationable Class 1 felony
  • Theft if exceeds $1 million – Class X felony

Consequences could include:

  • Shoplifting property with a value of $300 or less is a Class A misdemeanor that carries penalties of imprisonment up to 1 year and fines up to $2,500.
  • When the crime is executed through the use of an emergency exit, or with a previous theft crime conviction, it is elevated to a Class 4 felony, with imprisonment for 1 to 3 years and fines up to $25,000.
  • When the value of the property is more than $300, shoplifting is a Class 3 felony, carrying penalties of 2 to 5 years in prison and fines up to $25,000.
  • If the crime is executed through the use of an emergency exit, it is charged as a Class 2 felony, with fines up to $25,000 and 3 to 7 years in prison.

It is very important to realize that in Cook County, the head prosecutor has developed an office policy on how to deal with retail theft charges. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office, as of the past few years, will not charge a felony unless the amount of theft exceeds $1000 or the person has had more than 10 prior charges for retail theft.

In addition, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office has developed a “deferred prosecution program” that some first time offenders may qualify for. Essentially the program allows the person to complete some classes and the charges will get dismissed.

Chicago Shoplifting Defense Attorney

With The Toney Law Firm, LLC, you will have superior legal skills and aggressive criminal defense tactics on your side. We have 10 years experience in successfully defending clients against a range of criminal charges. Our lead attorney has been listed in Super Lawyers® (2015-2016) and Rising Stars℠ (2010-2014) by Chicago Magazine, and is a highly regarded throughout the legal community. She has a 10.0 Superb Rating on Avvo. Her outstanding legal skills have been recognized by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Illinois Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Illinois State Bar Association, among others.

We are dedicated to pursuing the best possible outcome for those we represent. Contact us for serious legal defense against Chicago shoplifting charges.


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