Have You Been Accused of Serial Shoplifting in Illinois?
Shoplifting can be a severe offense in Illinois, especially if you get accused of committing the crime multiple times. If you have to get accused of serial shoplifting, it is essential to understand the charges against you and your legal options. This blog post will provide an overview of serial shoplifting in Illinois and what you can do if facing these charges.
What is Serial Shoplifting?
Serial shoplifting describes stealing merchandise from a retail store on multiple occasions. The number of times you must steal to be considered a serial shoplifter can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the prosecutor handling the case. In Illinois, you may be charged with retail theft if you take possession of merchandise from a store with the intent to deprive the retailer of the merchandise’s value permanently.
Serial shoplifting can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the stolen items. If the total value of the stolen merchandise is less than $300, you may get charged with a Class A misdemeanor. However, if the value of the stolen items exceeds $300, you may be charged a Class 3 or Class 4 felony.
Penalties for Serial Shoplifting in Illinois
If you get convicted of serial shoplifting in Illinois, the penalties can be severe. A Class A misdemeanor can result in up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. A Class 3 or Class 4 felony can result in up to five years in prison with fines of up to $25,000. In addition to these criminal penalties, you may face civil penalties, such as being sued by the retailer for damages.
Defenses to Serial Shoplifting Charges
If you get accused of serial shoplifting, there are several defenses that you may be able to use to fight the charges against you. One common defense is to argue that you did not intend to deprive the retailer of the merchandise’s value permanently. For example, if you took an item by mistake or intended to return it later, you may be able to argue that you did not have the intent to steal.
Another possible defense is to challenge the identification of the alleged thief. In some cases, the retailer may not have a clear view of the person who stole the merchandise, or they may have misidentified the defendant. If the identification of the defendant is questionable, it may be possible to argue that the prosecution has not met its burden of proof.
What to Do If You Are Facing Serial Shoplifting Charges
If you get accused of serial shoplifting in Illinois, it is important to take the charges seriously and to seek legal representation as soon as possible. A criminal defense attorney can review the facts of your case and determine the best defense strategy for your situation. Your attorney may be able to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecution or fight the charges at trial.
In addition to seeking legal representation, it is essential to take steps to address any underlying issues that may be contributing to your behavior. For example, if you have a substance abuse problem, seeking treatment may help you avoid future criminal charges.
Serial shoplifting is a severe offense in Illinois that can result in significant penalties if you are convicted. If you have to get accused of serial shoplifting, it is necessary to understand the charges against you and to seek legal representation as soon as possible. A criminal defense attorney can help you understand your options and work to minimize the consequences of a conviction.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes. His work has been recognized by Avvo, Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, and others, and he has been featured on countless news outlets for his experience and knowledge in criminal law.