Shoplifting Charges in Illinois: What You Need to Know in 2022
In response to the increased prevalence of organized shoplifting rings in the state, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker recently signed a bill that increases penalties for retail theft. The INFORM Act increases the penalties for organized retail theft to a Class 3 felony offense for items valued at $300 or more. Individuals who commit retail theft at multiple establishments could find themselves facing Class 2 felony charges.
If you are accused of shoplifting in Illinois, it is important to understand the laws and possible penalties you may face. Retail theft is a serious crime in Illinois, and those convicted can face significant fines and substantial jail time.
Criminal Charges for Retail Theft
Under Illinois law, retail theft occurs when someone knowingly:
• Takes merchandise from a store without paying for it
• Switches price tags to pay a lower price for an item
• Conceals merchandise in order to leave the store without paying for it
• Takes shopping carts from a store without permission
• Uses a self-checkout to steal items
Retail theft can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the merchandise involved.
Organized retail theft typically involves a group of people working together to steal items from a store. Per the recent law, organized retail theft can lead to harsh penalties including long prison sentences.
Fighting Accusations of Shoplifting
If you are accused of shoplifting, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you understand the charges against you and develop a strong defense.
Possible defenses to retail theft charges include:
• You had no intention of permanently depriving the store of the merchandise
• You did not switch price tags or commit any other type of theft
• You received or purchased stolen merchandise but did not know that the merchandise was stolen
Self-checkout machines have also led to false accusations of theft against innocent people in recent years. Although self-serve checkouts can be convenient, they are not foolproof. Someone may assume that they scanned their items correctly, but in actuality, one or two items did not scan. The person only realizes what happened when an employee confronts them and accuses them of stealing.
Contact Our Will County Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you or a loved one were charged with retail theft, call the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C at 815-740-4025. Will County shoplifting defense attorney Jack Zaremba can advocate on your behalf and help you defend yourself against the charges. Schedule your free consultation today.