Theft offenses can result in serious penalties that include incarceration, fines, restitution, classes, probation, and a criminal record no matter where you are arrested in Illinois. However, the officers of the Skokie Police Department and prosecutors who handle criminal cases in the 2nd Municipal District of the Circuit Court in Skokie take pride on our city’s low crime rate, which they attribute to aggressively pursuing investigations and prosecutions. The combined number of burglaries, vehicle thefts, and other thefts (e.g. petty theft aka shoplifting) per 100,000 people across the country is 2,723 annually whereas the rate in Skokie is significantly lower 2,417 per 100,000. Both burglaries and vehicle thefts also occur at lower rates in Skokie than the Illinois state average.
While your first instinct when arrested might be to try to “talk your way out of trouble,” this is the absolute wrong approach. Skokie law enforcement authorities and prosecutors are aware of these crime statistics, and your successful conviction bolsters their numbers and reputation for being tough on crime. Whether you have been asked to answer questions as part of an investigation or you have been formally arrested, you should immediately assert your right to remain silent and to have an attorney present before you answer any questions. While you will not talk your way out jail, you might talk your way into a conviction.
Call our office to speak with a Skokie retail theft attorney now. Whether you are arrested for shoplifting after failing to pay for a tie before leaving Nordstrom, unlawfully taking a person’s motor vehicle, or identity theft because you use grandpa’s credit card, you might be unjustifiably charged with a theft offense. The pilfered tie might simply be the result of your forgetting that you were carrying the item. You might have thought you had permission to use the car. While grandpa might have regularly allowed you to use the card, so you did not mean to commit identity theft when you used his information. Whether you are wrongfully accused or you suffered a momentary lapse in judgment, the Skokie retail theft attorneys at Goldman & Associates tenaciously advocate for those charged with the full range of theft offenses.
Understanding Theft Crimes under Illinois Law
The term theft offense encompasses many statutory provisions that refer to a wide range of acts that involve the taking of another individual’s property through force or deception without consent. Even if you thought you had permission to take the property, this does not mean that you can afford to take your situation lightly because a conviction could lead to hefty fines and loss of your liberty. Goldman & Associates represents residents of Skokie and the surrounding areas in the full spectrum of theft offense cases, including but not limited to the following:
- Retail Theft (aka “shoplifting) [720 ILCS 5/16-25]: Retail theft involves taking items from a retail establishment without paying. While the offense can be a misdemeanor or a felony, a person can face a felony charge even when the value of the amount taken is fairly low depending on the circumstances. While you might assume you do not need to worry because you did not intend to take the item, concealment of an item creates a presumption that you intended to steal the item under Illinois law.
- Commercial Burglary [720ILCS 5/19-1]/Residential Burglary [720 ILCS 5.19-3]: Whether you are charged with commercial burglary or residential burglary, you face the prospect of a felony conviction and state prison. Residential burglary involves knowingly entering or remaining in the dwelling of another with the intent to commit a theft (or other felony). Burglary is a Class 2 criminal offense that can result in a sentence from 3 to 7 years, but a 4 year term of probation is possible under certain circumstances. Residential burglary carries a punishment of 4 to 15 years with no option for regular probation.
- Theft/Possession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle: Theft or possession of a stolen motor vehicle will expose you to 3 to 7 years in prison.
All criminal charges, including criminal retail theft charges, in Skokie set for court in the Second Municipal District Courthouse, which is located at 5600 Old Orchard Road, Skokie, Illinois 60077. It is important that your Skokie retail theft attorney is familiar with this court and the prosecutors and judges that hear cases there regularly. This is because you need every advantage you can get in defeating or minimizing your retail theft charges as quickly as possible. When you trust the Skokie retail theft lawyers at Goldman & Associates with all of the details of your criminal case, you can rest easy that you are working with attorneys who have tried and won countless cases in the Skokie courthouse. We are familiar with all aspects of the procedure and can take advantage of that knowledge to push for the best outcome for your retail theft charges in the Skokie area.
Consequences for Retail Theft Convictions in Skokie, IL
Depending on the total dollar value of the items you are charged with stealing in Skokie, the consequences for a retail theft conviction can vary. Of course, if you are a repeat offender or are currently on probation for another crime, the penalties may increase severely for this criminal offense. This is why it is so important to take the charge of retail theft in Skokie, IL and speak with the Skokie retail theft attorneys at Goldman & Associates right away to prepare your criminal defense.
For goods stolen from a retail store in Illinois with a value up to $300, the offense is considered a Class A misdemeanor. Conviction for this Class A misdemeanor can result in a jail sentence of up to one year in prison along with a hefty fine of up to $2,5000. In addition, this conviction can have lasting consequences for the rest of your personal and professional life because these convictions are not allowed to be expunged from your criminal record under Illinois law. However, you can be found eligible for supervision, which means that you would not serve the jail sentence and not have a conviction on your criminal record. You could also later seek expungement of the criminal retail theft charges from your record, which is important for future employment and credit checks.
In the event that the value of the stolen goods is more than $300, then your charge will be classified as a Class 3 felony under Illinois law. The consequences become much more severe than that of a misdemeanor offense in Illinois. You may serve a prison sentence of between two and five years. A conviction of this nature can never be removed from your criminal record, except if you receive the very rare remedy of a pardon from the governor.
For any retail theft conviction, regardless of the value of the property stolen from the retail store, if you have a previous record of any crime involving theft, you may face charges for a Class 4 felony, which are even more serious. This can involve a prison sentence of between one and three years. You may be eligible for probation under these charges, depending on the circumstances of your case.
Any type of charge for retail theft in Illinois has the potential to have a life changing effect. This is why you need to trust the experience and knowledge of a committed Skokie retail theft attorney to make sure that you navigate the system and all aspects of your case properly.
Civil Penalties for Retail Theft in Skokie, IL
In addition to the criminal penalties you may face for a retail theft conviction in Illinois, there is also the potential for civil penalties, depending on the specific circumstances surrounding the retail theft incident.
This could involve having to pay the full retail value of the merchandise stolen, a fine of between $100 and $1,000 or attorneys’ fees and court costs for the retail store. You may receive a civil demand letter from the store stating these penalties. It is best to communicate directly with your experienced Skokie retail theft attorney to avoid having to pay any of these penalties even if your criminal charges or dropped or you win your criminal case at trial or in front of a judge. It is possible to avoid these fines and other consequences if your case is handled properly from the start and without delay.
Skokie Retail Theft Attorney’s at Goldman & Associates
Skokie retail theft attorney Steven Goldman has built his law firm’s reputation on a long-track record representing over 5,000 people in the criminal courts of Skokie and surrounding areas of Cook County during a career that spans over 15 years. Mr. Goldman has exclusively focused on defending those accused of misdemeanors and felonies. The criminal defense law firm of Goldman & Associates is completely dedicated to zealous advocacy of our clients without judgment, so our clients are comfortable explaining all aspects of their situation to Mr. Goldman. Because we understand the stress of being charged with a crime, we explain the criminal process, your rights, available defenses, and potential outcomes to provide realistic expectations.