Retail establishments lose millions of dollars in merchandise every year due to shoplifting. While some people justify shoplifting by saying it doesn’t hurt anyone, the cumulative effect of all shoplifting hurts us all—through increased prices and inconvenient in store security precautions. While security may prevent some shoplifting, Illinois shoplifting laws were written to prevent it as well.
More than likely, if you are charged with shoplifting, the laws didn’t work to prevent the theft. However, if you are facing shoplifting penalties under Illinois law, there’s a good chance they will prevent you from doing it again.
Maybe you did it just to see if you could. You didn’t think you would get caught and now you have a court date looming and fear that you could be locked up for an extended stay. Perhaps, however, you aren’t guilty of the shoplifting charges at all. Whatever the case, it’s completely normal and understandable to be stressed and frightened of what may happen when you are facing Illinois theft charges.
Illinois Theft & Shoplifting Penalties
When you are accused of shoplifting, the charge and ultimately the penalty you face depends on the value of the goods you are accused of taking as well as how you took them.
Generally, if you are accused of taking goods valued at less than $300, you will face Class A misdemeanor charges and up to one year in jail with $2,500 in fines. However, if you shoplifted through the emergency exit of a retail establishment, that charge is elevated to a Class 4 felony, carrying 1-3 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
If you are accused of taking goods that value more than $300 or if you are accused of taking goods that add up to a combined total of more than $300 in any year’s time, you could face Class 3 felony charges. A Class 3 felony results in up to 2 to 5 years in prison and fines reaching $25,000.
Ref: 720 ILCS 16A-10
Anytime you are charged with a crime, it can feel like no one is on your side and no one cares about your version of events. However, a criminal defense attorney is concerned about your story. It’s your attorney’s job to be your advocate in the court system, ensuring you are treated fairly and advocating for your best interests.
If you’ve been accused of shoplifting and you didn’t do it, or if you admit to stealing and want to get fair treatment in court, a local lawyer can help.