Shoplifting includes several situations, including taking an item without paying, removing the price tag or switching price tags to pay less than what is originally marked.
Illinois takes all theft cases seriously and understanding the law and potential penalties is important if you are in this situation.
Potential consequences of a shoplifting conviction in Illinois
If convicted of retail theft in Illinois, you may face monetary fines and prison time. The total amount of jail time and fines depend on your charge – misdemeanor or felony.
Being charged with a misdemeanor usually results in less severe penalties. Additionally, in Illinois, you may have the option to have misdemeanor convictions expunged at some point.
However, a felony conviction comes with more severe penalties that will likely remain on your record permanently.
Challenges of defending against shoplifting charges
Defending shoplifting can be challenging. However, if you accidentally forgot something in your cart or if someone put something in your purse as you left a store, you may be able to use lack of intent to deprive the store owner of their property as a defense.
Additionally, if you were profiled, it may be a defense. Consider these questions:
- Did the store clerk or security team have a valid reason to question you?
- Were your rights violated?
If you answered yes to either of these questions, it would make the prosecution’s job more challenging. If you were charged with shoplifting because you forgot an item on the bottom rack of your cart when other people were simply asked to go back and pay for the goods, that’s something that could play into your case.
Know your legal rights when charged with theft
Understanding your legal rights when facing shoplifting charges in Illinois is recommended. This will help you build a defense and give you the best chance of a successful outcome for your case.