The city of Chicago’s police force has created a new website that features videos and photos of looting from all around the city, and they’re asking for the public’s help in identifying the people depicted. The police have made more than a hundred arrests related to the looting, which occurred during the second week of August, but they’re still looking for more. (See the Chicago PD’s website here.)
So what happens if you get caught looting in Chicago, or if someone identifies you from the Chicago police website?
Here’s what you need to know.
What Happens if You Get Caught Looting in Chicago?
Looting is an official crime in Illinois – it’s not one that falls under a catch-all statute. The law says, “A person commits looting when he or she knowingly without authority of law or the owner enters any home or dwelling or upon any premises of another, or enters any commercial, mercantile, business, or industrial building, plant, or establishment, in which normal security of property is not present by virtue of … a riot, mob, or other human agency, and obtains or exerts control over property of the owner.”
It’s a Class 4 felony in most cases, which means if you’re convicted, you’re looking at prison time and hefty fines. And the state has an added punishment for looting, too. The statute says that in addition to any other penalty (including prison time and fines) that a court imposes on you, you must also complete at least 100 hours of community service and make restitution to the owner of the property.
Related: Theft crimes in Illinois
Felonies are serious, too. A Class 4 felony like looting is punishable by 1 to 3 years in prison, which means that if the judge finds you guilty of the crime, you’re not going to the Cook County Jail – you’re going to a state prison.
Related: Felonies in Illinois
What to Do if You’re Arrested for Looting in Chicago or a Suburb
Because the penalties are so harsh, and because you don’t want to gamble with your future, it’s a good idea to call a Chicago criminal defense attorney if you’re accused of looting in Chicago or any of the suburbs. Don’t talk to police, and don’t admit anything – even if they tell you that they have video evidence that you committed a crime. Simply say that you want to talk to your attorney as soon as possible.
Call us at 847-920-4540 if you’ve been accused of looting (or any other crime). We may be able to help you – and we’ll be happy to give you a free consultation when you call.