Shoplifting and other forms of retail theft have been on the rise for the last few years. Many people who take something from the store without paying see the act as a victimless crime. Stealing an item from a big box store with millions of dollars in assets may seem inconsequential. However, being convicted of retail theft can have serious repercussions. In some cases, shoplifting can even be a felony offense.
If you or a loved one were accused of theft, contact a criminal defense lawyer for personalized legal help right away.
Misdemeanor Charges for Shoplifting
The severity of theft charges in Illinois depends on the value of the allegedly stolen items. If someone is accused of stealing property worth less than $300, it is a Class A misdemeanor offense. Misdemeanor theft is punishable by a maximum fine of $2,500 and, possibly, jail time. Fortunately, individuals charged with misdemeanor retail theft may eventually expunge or seal their criminal records. This hides the record of the arrest from employers, landlords, and the general public. This option is not typically available for felony retail theft charges.
Felony Charges for Shoplifting
Shoplifting or retail theft is a felony offense if the goods allegedly stolen are worth more than $300. However, retail theft or shoplifting may be a felony offense even if the alleged stolen items are worth less than $300 if the person:
Has a previous conviction for theft
Used an emergency exit in the commission of the offense
Stole more than $150 of motor fuel
Unlike conviction for misdemeanor theft, felony theft conviction often results in a several-year prison sentence. For example, theft by emergency exit is a Class 2 felony punishable by three to seven years’ incarceration. Furthermore, felony offenses are generally not eligible for expungement or record sealing. A felony offense on your criminal record can make it extremely difficult to find employment and housing.
What to Do if You are Facing Felony Charges for Retail Theft
If you or a loved one were accused of felony retail theft, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer for help. Your attorney can evaluate the facts of your case and help you develop a robust defense strategy. In the meantime, do not participate in any police interrogations. You have a right to remain silent protected by the U.S. Constitution. It is crucial that you assert that right and avoid saying anything to the police that will harm your case.
Contact a Wheaton Defense Lawyer
Conviction for felony retail theft can have life-changing consequences. For dependable legal support and fierce representation during criminal proceedings, contact the DuPage County criminal defense attorneys at Davi Law Group, LLC. Call 630-580-6373 for a free consultation.