Blogs | Law Office of Jack L Zaremba


Popping Tags Is Still Retail Theft

popping tags joliet criminal defense

When the average person thinks about shoplifting—which is a form of retail theft —he or she is likely to envision the offender slipping unpurchased merchandise into a purse, under a shirt, or into a pocket. Shoplifting charges, however, cover a broad range of activities that all deprive the store of full payment for the merchandise. Retail theft costs stores billions of dollars each year, despite anti-theft efforts and improvements in related technology.

How to Get Arrested Despite Paying For Merchandise

A recent pop song extolled the fun involved with “popping tags.” For those unfamiliar with what this is referencing, it refers to those with a limited amount of funds available, or who just want a thrill or to save money, go into a store and switch the price tag of the item with one from an item at a lower price point. They then go to the cashier and pay the lower cost. In Illinois, this constitutes theft , which occurs anytime someone deprives the merchant of the full retail value of a product. By paying the lower price, the behavior prohibits the store from making their money.

Other actions that fall into the shoplifting category include:

• Stealing an item;
• Changing an item’s packaging;
• Under-ringing the price of an item; and
• Label alteration.

Far-Reaching Impacts

The consequences of shoplifting affect not only the store but the community as well. The store lost money on that particular sale, but with the tags switched, someone else may pay the higher price on another item. How many times have you gone into a store, reached the counter to pay only to discover that the cost was three times the amount you expected? Perhaps you looked at a price tag and thought the item was outrageously priced? Did you purchase the item? Probably not. It is unlikely that the store will recoup the money from that sale, and the other item also may not sell.

Many stores are forced to increase the price of all products to recover from such losses, which ultimately impacts all of the store’s customers. If the prices become too high, shoppers will go elsewhere, forcing many stores to close.

All future customers may be forced to:

• Pay more for merchandise;
• Spend more in gas or travel expenses to go other places;
• Seek assistance from a store employee to purchase high-value items;
• Deal with lower staffing levels in stores due to cutbacks; and
• Endure scrutiny from increased loss prevention officers in a retail outlet.

Illinois Consequences

The state of Illinois imposes harsh criminal penalties on those found guilty of shoplifting charges. If you are facing such charges, it is important to seek legal guidance right away. Contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney at the Law Office Jack L. Zaremba to get the help you need. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation today.

Reckless Driving - Will County Criminal Defense

Will County Reckless Driving Defense

Reckless driving is one of the most frequently charged traffic violations . This is due, however, to the fact that the offense is defined broadly in the law and encompasses a multitude of behaviors. From speeding to failing to slow through a curve or rapid lane changes, reckless driving remains a “go-to” charge for many law enforcement officials. If you are facing reckless driving charges, it is important to know what that entails and the possible consequences of a conviction.

What Is Reckless Driving, Anyway?

According to Illinois law , the definition of reckless driving is operating a vehicle with, “with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” A conviction, therefore, requires proof of the mindset of intentionally endangering others or a complete lack of consideration. If the prosecution successfully proves purposeful disregard for safe driving, the allegations are more severe than careless or improper driving.

A few behaviors that may qualify as reckless driving include:

• Dangerously driving above the posted speed limit;
• Failing to yield the right-of-way;
• Driving without proper lights;
• Not signaling or otherwise not looking before lane changes; and
• Running stop signs or red lights, placing others in danger.

Worst Case Scenario

Many clients ask specifically about the worst-case scenario in the event of a conviction. While we build strong cases to reduce the charges or have them dropped entirely, it is understandable to want to know what potential punishments are, especially if the prosecution has an airtight case. If convicted, reckless driving is generally a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in county jail and fines of up to $2,500.

The good news is you are not likely to lose your driver’s license solely as the result of a reckless driving charge. Keep in mind, however, that if you have two other violations within the last 12 months, a third conviction can cost you your driving privileges.

We Can Help

If you are facing allegations of reckless driving, it is important to remember that it is a criminal offense and you should consider retaining an attorney to aid in your defense. To learn more, contact an experienced reckless driving defense lawyer in Will County . At the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba, we understand how a single reckless driving charge can affect your life and we are prepared to help you protect your rights every step of the way. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation today.

How Long Does the State Have to Bring Criminal Charges Against You?

Joliet timeline criminal charges

Generally, the state must bring criminal charges within a prescribed time period, known as the “statute of limitations.” This time period varies according to the crime allegedly committed, but if a particular statute is silent on the issue, then Illinois law sets forth a general timeframe: Felony charges must be brought within three years of commission, and misdemeanor charges must be brought within one year and six months of commission.

There are limited exceptions. For example, the statute of limitations may be extended under the following circumstances:

1. In a prosecution for theft involving a breach of fiduciary obligation where the aggrieved person is under 18 or is legally disabled, the action may be commenced during the minority or disability or within 365 days after the minor becomes an adult or the disability ends. For example, if the aggrieved person is legally disabled and retains this disability for his entire life, then criminal charges may be brought at any point during his lifetime.

2. If the prosecution is based on a public officer’s or employee’s actions during employment, then the action may be commenced within one year after a person having a legal duty to report the offense discovers what happened. If the person having a duty to report does not make this discovery, the action can be commenced within one year after the prosecution becomes aware.
Note, however, that the limitations period cannot be extended more than three years beyond the applicable statutory period.

3. A prosecution for pornography involving children, aggravated child pornography, indecent solicitation of a child and other related offenses may be commenced within 365 days of the victim turning 18 years old. However, the limitations period cannot end sooner than three years after commission of the offense.

4. A prosecution for criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault or aggravated criminal sexual abuse may be commenced within 10 years of commission of the offense if the victim reported the offense to law enforcement within three years of commission.

5. A prosecution for misdemeanor criminal sexual abuse involving a minor may be commenced within 10 years after the child victim turns 18 years old.

6. A prosecution for theft involving real property exceeding $100,000 in value, identity theft or aggravated identify theft may be commenced within seven years of the last act committed in furtherance of the crime.

These are only some examples of extended statutes of limitations for criminal offenses committed in Illinois.

An effective criminal defense attorney will first take note of such threshold issues as whether the prosecution is legally permitted to bring criminal charges in the first place. One of those threshold issues is whether charges have been brought within the allotted timeframe. Contact one of our Will County Criminal Defense Attorneys today if you have been charged with any criminal offense. We will answer the threshold questions and mount an effective defense on your behalf. We can assist those in Frankfort, Joliet and the surrounding area.


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