Chicago police are reporting an uptick in theft during the coronavirus pandemic – even as businesses are closing and people are closing themselves in their homes. If you’re one of the people accused of stealing something during the pandemic (or if you were accused of stealing something before people started closing businesses), you might want to call a Chicago theft defense attorney who can help.
Theft Charges During the Coronavirus Epidemic
Chicago courts are closing down, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get help. We’re still working hard for all of our clients, and that means if you’ve been accused of theft (or any crime, for that matter), we’re here to listen to your side of the story. We’ll put together a defense that gets you the best possible outcome, whether you go to trial now or later.
How Can the State Convict You of Theft?
The judge or jury can find you guilty of theft if you intended to take something permanently and you:
- Obtained or exerted unauthorized control over someone else’s property
- Deceived or threatened the property’s owner to get the property
- Have property that you know was stolen (or when you should have reasonably believed it was stolen)
In plain English, that means you took something that didn’t belong to you, you knew it didn’t belong to you, you meant to keep it and you didn’t have permission to do so. If you have property that you’re pretty sure was stolen, you can also get in trouble for theft.
What Happens if You’re Convicted of Theft?
A theft conviction goes on your criminal record. The punishment varies based on the value of the item you took. If the property is worth less than $500, you’re looking at a Class A misdemeanor (unless you took it at a school or place of worship – then it’s a Class 4 felony).
If the property is worth $500 to $10,000, it’s a Class 3 felony (again, unless it’s from a school or place of worship – then it’s a Class 2 felony).
If the property is worth $10,000 to $100,000, it’s a Class 1 felony if it occurs in a school or place of worship, or if the theft was of something that belonged to the government.
Property that’s worth $100,000 but less than $500,000 is also a Class 1 felony.
Finally, property that’s worth more than $1 million, you’re looking at a Class X felony.
Have You Been Accused of Theft During the Coronavirus Pandemic?
If you’ve been accused of theft, either during the coronavirus pandemic or at some point before it started, you have the right to an attorney. Call us at 847-920-4540 or fill out the form below. Right now, we’re giving free phone consultations,as well as Skype and FaceTime consultations because we can’t meet face-to-face. Please feel free to reach out to us however you’re most comfortable – we can help you get the best possible outcome in your case.