Also known as shoplifting, retail theft is a common and serious crime in Illinois. It can lead to serious fines such as jail time, hefty fines, and a permanent criminal record that can make it difficult for you to secure employment, keep your professional license, and rent a place to live. In addition to simply walking out of a store with an item that you did not pay for, you can be guilty of retail theft if you do the following:
If you return an item that was unlawfully purchased in order to receive cash, store credit, or a gift card, you commit return fraud. Often times, return fraud is committed by presenting a fake receipt that was obtained from a fake receipt website.
Under-ringing occurs when you replace the barcode tag on an expensive product with a tag from a product of lesser cost. This type of theft can also occur if you are in a self-checkout line and purposely fail to scan an item.
Keeping Rental Property for Too Long
If you are renting any type of merchandise and do not return it on time, you may be charged with retail theft. This is particularly true if you receive a written notice and do not return the merchandise within 10 days.
Jamming Security Alarms
Although jamming security alarms is an overlooked form of retail theft, it frequently arises. It occurs if you use an electronic mechanism in order to obstruct or jam a security device so you can take an item past a scanning device.
Exiting Through an Emergency Door
Retail establishments are equipped with emergency doors that should only be used for emergency situations. If you use an emergency exit so you do not have to pay for merchandise, you may be guilty of retail theft.
Retail Theft Penalties
The penalties you may be left with if you are convicted of retail theft will depend on the value of the item you stole.
If the item is worth $300 or less, you may face a Class A misdemeanor, which comes with up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Keep in mind that a Class A misdemeanor cannot be expunged or sealed.
If the item has a value of greater than $300, you may be charged with a Class 4 felony, which is punishable by one to three years of prison time and a fine of up to $25,000.
If you stole the item and used the emergency exit, you will face a Class 4 felony regardless of how much the item is worth.
Contact Our Plainfield Retail Theft Attorneys
If you are charged with a retail theft crime, it is in your best interest to reach out to our experienced Plainfield retail theft attorneys. Call us today at 630-953-3000 for a free consultation.