Bolingbrook, IL Retail Theft Law Firm
Shoplifting Defense Attorneys Serving Will County
Facing criminal charges can be stressful and frightening. If you are convicted, you may face fines, probation, and even time behind bars. People sometimes believe that certain criminal charges are not as serious as others.
For example, some may think that the charge of retail theft or shoplifting will only have relatively minor consequences. However, the penalties for a retail theft conviction can be very serious, especially if you are charged with stealing high value items. If you are charged with retail theft, a conviction may affect your finances, reputation, and even your freedom. You should always contact an experienced Joliet retail theft attorney for help defending your case and minimizing the consequences.
Retail Theft Under Illinois Law
Under 720 ILCS 5/16A-3(a), a person may be found guilty of retail theft if he or she wrongfully takes merchandise from a retail establishment with the intention of permanently keeping the merchandise. Retail theft most often occurs when someone simply takes an item or items from a store without paying. However, retail theft may also be charged in the following situations:
- Switching or altering tags to pay less for merchandise.
- Trying to falsely return merchandise for store credit, cash refund, or another type of exchange.
- An employee under rings an item or applies an incorrect discount so someone can pay less.
- Using a jamming device to avoid alarms while leaving a store.
The penalties under the law depend on whether retail theft is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. If the allegedly stolen merchandise is valued at $300 or less, then the charge will be a Class A misdemeanor. A defendant charged with a Class A misdemeanor faces up to one year in jail and fines up to $2,500. If the merchandise is valued over $300, the defendant may be charged with a Class 4 felony, which carries a possible sentence of one to three years in prison and fines up to $25,000. Most people do not realize that by taking a $350 watch, for instance, they may be sent to prison and have to pay exorbitant fines.
Defending Retail Theft Charges in Will County, IL
Often, store employees may be overzealous in fighting shoplifters and may mistakenly accuse someone of taking merchandise. Other times, prosecutors may try to overestimate the value of the merchandise to charge the defendant with a felony instead of a misdemeanor. The attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC know how to aggressively defend retail theft charges, get the charges dismissed or amended down, or negotiate with prosecutors for lesser sentences. You should not make the mistake of trying to defend your retail theft case on your own. Even if you know you are innocent, you still need an experienced retail theft attorney to help you negotiate and present evidence in court to ensure the best outcome possible for your case.