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Longtime Illinois Lawmaker Charged With Retail Theft

Joliet Retail Theft Lawyer

In an ideal world, nobody would be above the law. Our world, of course, is not perfect, and many individuals—especially business leaders and politicians—seem to get away with things that the average citizen would not. For at least one former Illinois state representative, however, this does not appear to be the case, as she is now facing charges in connection with retail theft from a shopping center in Lombard.

Alleged Return Fraud Attempt

According to several local news outlets , the 71-year-old former General Assembly member allegedly stole three women’s clothing items from a Von Maur store at the Yorktown Shopping Center in late September. The items were reportedly taken around 2:00 in the afternoon. Authorities say that the woman returned to the store a little after 9:00 p.m. the same day and tried to return the stolen merchandise for cash or store credit.

The woman was arrested and charged with retail theft. Reports indicated that the value of the merchandise in question was about $570 — enough to justify felony charges under Illinois law. The DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office, however, chose to file misdemeanor charges instead and she has since pled not guilty. The former lawmaker was released on bail and is due back in court next month.

Understanding Retail Theft in Illinois

The Illinois Criminal Code recognizes retail theft as its own type of property crime separate from “regular” theft, which generally refers to stealing from another person or a non-commercial entity. Retail theft charges and the associated penalties generally depend on the nature and value of the stolen items as well as how the theft was committed. For example, a person who simply conceals merchandise valued at less than $300 and leaves a store with it through the front door may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. If the suspect uses an emergency exit to leave the store with the same merchandise, however, he or she may face Class 4 felony charges. Any retail theft of merchandise valued at more than $300 can also be charged as a felony.

It is important to understand that retail theft charges may apply to more than just shoplifting. Switching price tags or boxes, under-ringing merchandise, and attempting to return items that have not been legally purchased for financial gain are also considered forms of retail theft.

Facing Retail Theft Charges?

If you or your child has been charged with retail theft, the consequences can be serious and long-lasting, but you may have options in protecting your future. Contact an experienced Will County criminal defense attorney to get the guidance you need. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation today.

Understanding Domestic Battery in Illinois

illinois domestic battery

Domestic violence is a problem that continues to plague tens of thousands of families across the country. Despite countless awareness programs, educational campaigns, and victim empowerment efforts, as many as one in three women and one in four men will experience domestic violence at the hands of an intimate partner at least once in their lifetime.

In terms of the law, domestic abuse is an area that blurs the line between family law and criminal law. It is understandable that such behavior would be a factor in cases related to child custody and parental rights, but the same actions that cost a parent time with his or her children could also result in criminal penalties as well. Domestic violence is most often charged as domestic battery in Illinois, and it is important to understand the potential consequences.

Two Types of Actions

Just as the crime of battery may be committed in two ways, domestic battery can too. A person commits domestic battery when he or she causes bodily harm to a family or household member. Domestic battery may also be charged in the absence of bodily harm if a person makes physical contact of a provoking or insulting nature with a family or household member. Thus, a slap across the face could be considered domestic battery, even if the slap did not cause a cut or bruise.

For the purposes of the law, family members and household members include current or former romantic partners, parents, children, stepchildren, stepparents, relatives by blood or marriage, current or former roommates, and disabled individuals and their caregivers. An individual with whom one shares a child in common is also included.

Criminal Consequences

Domestic battery is, at the very least, a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and $2,500 in fines. Unlike other misdemeanors, domestic battery is also not eligible for court supervision or other diversionary programs that can prevent a permanent conviction from being part of the offender’s permanent record. A domestic battery conviction can also not be sealed. A second offense is automatically a Class 4 felony, which carries up to three years in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of three days’ imprisonment.

Protecting Your Rights

While there are a few ways to mount a defense against charges of domestic battery, the most common is that the defendant was acting to protect him- or herself. The right defense for your case, however, will depend entirely on your unique circumstances. If you have been arrested for domestic battery, an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney can help protect your future. Call Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025 for a free consultation today.

Is Illinois Poised to Legalize Recreational Marijuana?

illinois marijuana legalization

In 2015, Illinois joined 28 other states that offer access to medical marijuana for qualifying patients. Recently, advocates and some politicians have begun steering the legalization conversation toward expanding access to marijuana in this state for recreational use.

New Tactics in the War on Drugs

Although the federal government still considers cultivation, possession, distribution, and use of marijuana a crime, several states across the country have begun enacting laws decriminalizing marijuana. In addition to the variety of medicinal qualities researchers have identified, some lawmakers consider the legal sale of marijuana an emerging and untapped source of revenue. Here are some of the events that have helped shift the conversation about marijuana legalization:

• In addition to the 29 states that offer access to medical marijuana, eight states have legalized its sale for recreational use.
• Last year, Illinois passed laws to decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis.
• In 2018, five more states will take steps toward full legalization.
• In debt-ridden Cook County , one elected official is touting legalization as a means of easing the tax burden on residents while generating millions of dollars in sales tax revenue.
• In a 2016 Gallup poll , 60 percent of Americans reported favoring marijuana legalization.
• Democratic candidates in the 2018 Illinois Governor’s election have made statements indicating endorsement of full legalization .

In addition to accessing a new source of tax revenue, legalization advocates believe that complete decriminalization would lower expenses related to the arrest, court appearance, and incarceration of marijuana offenders.

The Case for Full Legalization Grows

While the United States is currently in the throes of what is described as an epidemic of addiction and death related to prescription pain relievers, many treatment professionals consider marijuana a weapon in the country’s growing opioid problem. Other statistics from states with legalized marijuana laws support the case:

• Colorado has reported no increase in juvenile use of marijuana or traffic accidents since enacting laws permitting recreational marijuana use.
• Washington has reported falling crime rates since legalizing marijuana in 2012.
• California has indicated that crime increases in areas where marijuana dispensaries close.

Work With an Experienced Illinois Criminal Drug Defense Attorney

Although laws pertaining to the possession of marijuana have changed over the years, it remains critical to retain a knowledgeable defense attorney when facing drug charges. Seek the counsel of a knowledgeable Will County drug crime defense attorney who will review your case and build a solid and aggressive defense on your behalf. The Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. examines the details of every case with meticulous care to ensure nothing is overlooked. Contact our offices today at 815-740-4025 to schedule a free initial consultation.

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