Understanding the Penalties for Theft Charges This Holiday Season 

Posted on December 19, 2022 in Criminal Law

=Arlington Heights, IL criminal defense lawyerThe holidays are here; for many, this time of the year is a beautiful time to spend with family and friends. However, while this is a happy time for many, it is also a busy time of the year for law enforcement. As stores swell with crowds of enthusiastic and impatient shoppers, it is not uncommon for theft to spike during this time of the year. Whether it be due to overcrowded stores, a case of overzealous shoppers or someone simply swiping a package off someone’s front porch, law enforcement in Illinois is on the lookout for theft of all kinds as Christmas and the holiday season draws near.

Being charged with theft can ruin your holiday season and follow you long after the holidays have ended. If you have been charged with theft, consider contacting an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney who ensures your rights are protected while helping you pursue the most favorable outcome possible in your case.

What Constitutes Criminal Theft in Illinois? 

A common misconception regarding theft crimes is that people rarely get in trouble for theft, and instead get only a slap on the wrist. This is not true. In Illinois, depending on what was allegedly stolen and its value, you can be looking at a Class A misdemeanor if the value of any property stolen is $500 or less. Moreover, if the property stolen is worth between $500 and $1,000, the charge is escalated to a Class 3 Felony. In instances of package theft, if items are under a total of $500, you may face up to one year in prison and fines of up to $2,500. If you steal a package that contains goods exceeding $500, you may find yourself in jail for between two and five years and fines up to $25,000.

In shoplifting cases, if someone swipes something off the shelf of a store or tries to switch labels on an item to avoid paying the actual price, this is considered a Class A misdemeanor if the items stolen are worth less than $300. If the things are worth more than $300, this is considered a Class A felony. So think twice before you swipe that laptop! 

Sometimes, someone will try to shoplift an item and escape through an emergency exit in the store. This is a terrible mistake, as even if what is allegedly being stolen is worth less than $300, leaving illegally through an emergency exit is considered a Class 4 felony and can land you in prison for between one and three years. However, if the items are worth more than $300, this is a Class 2 felony and can land you in prison for three to seven years and a maximum fine of $25,000. 

Contact an Arlington Heights, IL, Theft Defense Lawyer

If you have been accused of committing the crime of theft this holiday season, do not sit idle as you wait for the legal process to play itself out. There is no time to waste! Contact the experienced Rolling Meadows, IL, theft defense attorney with Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law. Call 847-253-3400 for a free consultation.