Illinois Shoplifting and Retail Theft Charges

 Posted on December 11, 2020 in Criminal Defense

IL criminal lawyerThe penalties faced by a person who has been accused of retail theft in Illinois are some of the most severe in the U.S. For instance, defendants convicted of shoplifting items worth $300 or more face up to five years in prison and fines of $25,000. To ensure that you are not unfairly convicted of retail theft or a similar crime, please reach out to our experienced Naperville, IL retail theft lawyers today.

Defining Retail Theft

Retail theft is defined under Illinois law as the taking of merchandise without paying for its full value. Because it is so broadly defined, a number of different activities fall under this category. For instance, a person can be charged with retail theft if he or she has been accused of leasing property and failing to return it to the owner on time. Other forms of retail theft include:

  • Taking possession of, carrying away, or transferring any merchandise without paying for it
  • Under-ringing, or causing a cash register to charge less than the full value of a product
  • Altering, transferring or removing any price tag, label, or other marking indicating the value of the merchandise and attempting to purchase that product for less than the full retail value
  • Transferring merchandise from its container to another container with the intention of paying less for it
  • Removing a shopping cart from the premises of a retail establishment
  • Representing that he or she is the lawful owner of property in an attempt to convey that property to a merchant in exchange for money
  • Using or possessing any theft detection shielding device or remover to avoid paying for merchandise

In most theft-related cases, prosecutors cannot obtain a conviction without providing proof that a defendant intended to commit the offense. However, in Illinois, courts generally assume that a person meant to commit retail theft if there is evidence that he or she concealed merchandise or took it toward an exit beyond the final cash register.

Defense Strategies

The penalties for a retail theft conviction are severe, so those who have been accused of this offense should retain an attorney who can help prove their innocence by arguing that:

  • The defendant took the items by mistake
  • A cashier failed to ring up an item
  • The store mislabeled the product
  • The defendant owned the merchandise in question
  • The defendant was impaired, or not of sound mind at the time of the alleged offense

An experienced lawyer can also help determine whether security had a valid reason to search the accused and whether his or her rights were violated at the time of the search, all of which can be used to reduce a person’s charges or avoid conviction entirely.

Call Today for Help with Your Retail Theft Case

To set up a free consultation with one of the dedicated DuPage County retail theft lawyers at J. Aldrich Law, P.C., please call our office at 630-953-3000 today. You can also reach a member of our legal team via online message.



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