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Rolling Meadows Shoplifting Defense Lawyer

Rolling Meadows Shoplifting Retail Theft Defense Attorney

Criminal Defense Attorney for Retail Theft in Cook County and DuPage County

Shoplifting and retail theft are among the most common crimes committed by both juveniles and adults. Whether committed out of need or greed, Illinois law is clear: stealing from a retailer is a crime which can result in fines and jail time.

At Hartsfield Law, we understand that taking a few extra items out of a giant retail store can seem like "no big deal" when you consider that retailers already build the cost of merchandise "shrinkage" into their prices. But we also want you to realize that, if you get caught, you need to take the charges seriously. You could be forced to pay a steep fine to the court in addition to paying back the merchant for what you took. Even a misdemeanor arrest means you will have a criminal record that is going to appear on every background check, whenever you apply for a job or student loan. Rest assured that, at Hartsfield Law, we will work diligently to minimize these effects and give your case our full attention.

How Illinois Law Defines Retail Theft

Illinois law (720 ILCS 5/16-25) defines retail theft/shoplifting as the taking of retail merchandise without paying the correct retail price. This includes actions such as:

  • Altering or switching price tags.
  • Switching packaging (for example, putting a $200 flat-screen TV into the box for a $25 folding table).
  • Misrepresenting ownership (for example, putting on the store's clothing in a dressing room and then claiming that those are the garments that you wore into the store).
  • Concealing merchandise and carrying it beyond the last available place to pay.
  • Removing a shopping cart from store premises without consent.
  • Under-ringing merchandise intentionally, as a cashier in the store.
  • Putting gas in your car and driving away without paying.

Penalties for Retail Theft and Shoplifting

Retail theft of under $300 in merchandise (or under $150 of motor fuel) is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine up to $2,500. Repeat offenses can be charged as Class 4 felonies, for which the penalty is one to three years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

Retail theft in excess of $300 in merchandise (or $150 of motor fuel) is a Class 3 felony punishable by two to five years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.

In addition, the retail thief is civilly liable to reimburse the merchant for the full retail value of the merchandise taken, additional damages of $100 to $1,000, and attorney's fees and court costs (720 ILCS 5/16-27). If the offender is a minor (less than 19 years of age), the parents or guardian of the minor are liable.

Skilled Retail Theft Defense Attorney in Rolling Meadows

As you can see, the penalties for shoplifting even a small item can be more costly than the merchandise taken. If you have been arrested on the charge of retail theft, an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney can help minimize the toll this mistake will take on your life. For arrests in Cook County or DuPage County including Oakbrook Center, Yorktown Center, and Woodfield Mall, contact Hartsfield Law at 312-345-1700. We have offices in Oakbrook Terrace, Rolling Meadows, and Chicago for your convenience.

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