It is not uncommon for someone to try to test the limits at least once in his or her life. For some individuals, this may involve stealing a low-priced item. Perhaps you put a candy bar in your pocket or slipped a cheap bottle of nail polish in your purse. Technically, you have committed a criminal offense, though the charges would be minor since the price of the item stolen is so low. The proper legal term for shoplifting is known as retail theft and there are actually a number of ways that this crime can be committed. Depending on the price of the item taken, the criminal charges can vary from a low-level misdemeanor to a serious felony in Illinois.

What Is Considered Retail Theft?

Illinois legislation names several different actions that all fall under the category of retail theft. Some of these descriptions are fairly obvious, while others you may not have known are considered theft at all. All of the following actions are considered retail theft and you can face criminal charges for knowingly doing any of the following:

  1. Taking possession of, carrying, or transferring merchandise, without paying the full price, in order to deprive the owner of the item.

  2. Altering, transferring, or removing a label or price tag to reflect a lower price, keeping the owner from earning full retail value for the item.

  3. Moving a full-priced item to a sale bin or section of the store in an attempt to get the item at a lower price. Since you are obtaining the item at an incorrect and lower price, this is considered theft.

  4. Ringing up the item at a lower price than listed, allowing the customer to purchase the item at a lower price than asked.

  5. Taking a shopping cart from a store without any intention to return to the cart.

  6. Claiming to be the owner of the property to the working employee and using this false persona to obtain property without paying, at a lower price, or placing the cost of the item under the real property owner’s credit.

  7. Owning and using a theft detection shield or remover device to take the item without paying for it.

What Are the Consequences?

As previously mentioned, the sentence that you can receive with retail theft offenses is contingent upon the price of the item stolen. Actions 1-6 above are Class A misdemeanors if the total value of the item(s) is less than $300. If the cost of the item(s) exceeds $300, the charge is a Class 3 felony. Class A misdemeanors warrant up to one year of imprisonment, two years of probation, and a $2,500 fine. Class 3 felonies result in two to five years of imprisonment, up to 30 months of probation, and a fine as determined by the court. The seventh action listed, involving using theft detection shields or removers, is a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class 4 felony for any subsequent offenses. A Class 4 felony can result in one to three years in prison, up to 30 months of probation, and a fine as determined by the court. 

Contact a DuPage County Retail Theft Defense Lawyer

You may not have realized the severity of stealing, or the number of ways that it can occur, until reading the above actions; this is the case with most people. Taking something that does not belong to you may seem relatively harmless, but in reality, the legal consequences can be fairly steep. At the Davi Law Group, we strongly suggest that you seek out legal counsel as soon as possible. Depending on the price of the item taken, you can face imprisonment, fines, and probation moving forward. Our lawyers provide high-quality representation regardless of your criminal charge. Contact our Wheaton, IL criminal defense attorneys today at 630-580-6373 to schedule your free consultation.




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