Dealing with a shoplifting charge in Illinois can be a stressful experience. As tempting as it might be to take something without paying, the consequences can be severe. It’s important to understand the ramifications of such a decision and how a criminal defense lawyer can help you navigate these complex waters if you’ve been accused.
Thinking About Shoplifting? These Are the Consequences of a Conviction in Illinois
This guide explains the following:
- Criminal penalties for shoplifting
- Civil liabilities
- Impact on your future
- Role of a criminal defense lawyer
Here’s a closer look at each.
Criminal Penalties for Shoplifting
If you’re caught shoplifting in Illinois, you’ll face criminal charges. The severity of these penalties largely depends on the value of the stolen goods. For items valued at $300 or less, it’s considered a Class A misdemeanor, which can lead to up to one year in jail and a fine up to $2,500. However, if the stolen property exceeds $300, the crime becomes a Class 3 felony, leading to a prison sentence of two to five years.
Related: What is a plea bargain in Illinois?
Beyond criminal penalties, shoplifters can also be held civilly liable. The retail merchant can demand repayment for the actual damages, a penalty between $100 to $1,000, plus their attorney’s fees and court costs. It’s an added financial burden that can significantly affect your wallet.
Impact on Your Future
A shoplifting conviction can seriously hinder your future. It’ll show up on background checks, potentially affecting your ability to find a job, rent an apartment, or apply for a loan. Additionally, it can damage your personal and professional reputation.
Role of a Criminal Defense Lawyer
A criminal defense lawyer plays an essential role when you’re charged with shoplifting. They’ll guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and work to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. It’s crucial to hire one as soon as possible after you’ve been charged.
FAQ About Shoplifting Consequences in Illinois
Check out these commonly asked questions about the consequences of shoplifting in Illinois. If you don’t see the answers here, please call our office, and we’ll get you the information you need.
Q: Can a lawyer help even if I’m guilty?
A: Yes. Even if you’re guilty, a lawyer can negotiate on your behalf to potentially reduce penalties or even get charges dropped in some situations.
Q: Can a shoplifting charge be expunged from my record?
A: Depending on the circumstances and after a period, it might be possible to have a shoplifting conviction expunged from your record. A lawyer can provide more information.
Q: Will a shoplifting charge affect my student financial aid?
A: It can. Some criminal convictions can impact eligibility for financial aid. It’s important to discuss this with a lawyer.
In conclusion, while the urge to shoplift might seem trivial at the moment, the consequences can have a long-lasting impact on your life. Hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help protect your rights and future if you find yourself facing these charges.
Related: Understanding Illinois DUI laws
Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney?
If you’ve been accused of a crime, we may be able to help you – and don’t worry: It’s completely confidential. Call us at 847-920-4540 or fill out the form below to schedule your free, private consultation with an experienced and skilled Chicago criminal defense attorney now.
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