Theft is a serious crime in Chicago, and it’s one that carries serious penalties—it’s either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the value of the property taken. Most people accused of stealing something from another person find that it’s best to talk to a Chicago theft defense attorney who understands the law and who’s willing to fight hard on their behalf.
Theft and Retail Theft in Chicago
Theft, according to 720 ILCS 5/16-1, is when a person:
- Obtains or exerts unauthorized control over property of its owner
- Deceives the property’s owner in order to get control of it
- Threatens the property’s owner in order to get control of it
- Has stolen property when they know it has been stolen or should reasonably believe that it was stolen
In order for the state to charge you with theft, you must intend to deprive the owner of it permanently.
Theft is different from burglary, robbery and home invasion.
Theft in Chicago
The law says that the theft of property not from the person and not exceeding $500 in value is a Class A misdemeanor. If the property doesn’t exceed $500 in value but the theft was committed in a school or place of worship, or if the property is government property, it becomes a Class 4 felony.
Theft of property from a person that’s under $500 in value, or the theft of property that’s worth between $500 and $10,000 is a Class 3 felony.
If a crime with the same monetary values occurred in a school or place of worship, or if it is the theft of government property, it’s a Class 2 felony.
Theft of property valued between $10,000 and $100,000 is a Class 1 felony if the theft was committed in a school or place of worship, or if the theft was government property. So is the theft of any property exceeding $100,000 but less than $500,000. The theft of property valued at $1 million or more turns the crime into a Class X felony.
Retail Theft in Chicago
Retail theft, which is also known as shoplifting, involves the theft of merchandise from a store or business. There are a number of related crimes with which you can be charged, too, including:
- Unlawful use or possession of a theft-detection shielding device
- Unlawful possession of a theft-detection device remover
Although these offenses can be committed in conjunction with retail theft, the elements of these crimes are different and can be charged as separate offenses.
Retail theft is either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the merchandise stolen. If the value is less than $300, it’s a Class A misdemeanor. If it’s over $300, it becomes a Class 4 felony.
Talk to a Chicago Theft Defense Lawyer Today
If you’ve been accused of stealing property that wasn’t yours, whether you’re completely innocent or you made a mistake, you need to talk to a Chicago theft defense lawyer as soon as possible.
You need an experienced, aggressive and skilled attorney to fight hard on your behalf.
Call us at 847-920-4540 for your free theft defense case evaluation. We serve the communities of Chicago, Skokie, Rolling Meadows and Schaumburg, and we’ll be happy to review your case and develop a strategy that gets you the best possible outcome.