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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.

Rights of Criminal Defendants

In the United States, criminal defendants have important rights that are protected by the U.S. Constitution. Unfortunately, many individuals accused of crimes fail to take advantage of their constitutional rights. They speak freely to police and give up their right to remain silent or allow unjustified searches and seizures of their personal property. Many fail to retain a skilled lawyer and instead rely on their own limited understanding of the criminal justice system.
If you or a loved one have been accused of a crime, understand that all defendants have rights. Asserting these rights is often the difference between a guilty verdict and an acquittal.

Rights of the Accused

Some of the most important rights afforded to criminal defendants include:

The right to a speedy and public trial - This right is guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It means that once an individual is charged with a crime, they have the right to have their case tried before a judge or jury within a reasonable amount of time.

The right to an attorney - This right is also guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment. If a defendant cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint a public defender to represent him or her. It is very important for defendants to have an experienced attorney by their side. An attorney will be familiar with the criminal justice system and know how to navigate the case from beginning to end. An experienced attorney can gather evidence and use it to build a strong defense against criminal charges.

The right not to be subjected to double jeopardy - This right is guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment and means that a person cannot be tried twice for the same crime. Once a person is acquitted or convicted of a crime, they cannot be tried again for that same crime.

The right against self-incrimination: The Fifth Amendment also states that defendants cannot be compelled to testify against themselves. This right can be invoked by remaining silent and telling the court that you wish to speak to an attorney before answering any police questions. Unfortunately, police officers often imply that defendants will have a better chance of avoiding harsh criminal penalties if they freely provide information about the alleged crime. If you were arrested, do not fall victim to this interrogation tactic. Police do not have the authority to offer reduced jail sentences or leniency in exchange for cooperation during an interrogation.

Grundy and Will County Criminal Defense Lawyer

These are just a few of the rights afforded to criminal defendants in the United States. If you have been accused of a crime, you have these rights and should exercise them. Contact an experienced Will County criminal defense attorney Jack Zaremba for personalized, skilled legal counsel and guidance during your case. Call 815-740-4025 today and schedule a free consultation.

FOID Violations Illinois

Illinois gun laws are some of the most restrictive in the country. If you want to own a gun in Illinois, you will need to get a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card. The FOID card is issued by the Illinois State Police.If you are accused of violating your FOID card requirements, it is important to take the accusation seriously. If you are found guilty of a FOID violation, you could face jail time and steep fines.

FOID Violations in Illinois

Although our right to bear arms is protected by the U.S. Constitution, states have the authority to limit gun ownership. In Illinois, gun ownership is considered a privilege. If a FOID carrier commits a criminal offense or violates FOID regulations, he or she may be stripped of his or her right to possess firearms.

Common examples of FOID-related violations include:

• Failing to renew your FOID card

• Lying on your FOID application

• Giving false information to a gun dealer

• Allowing someone else to use your FOID card

• Possessing a firearm with an expired FOID card

• Possessing a firearm with a revoked FOID card

• Transferring firearms or firearm ammunition without a FOID card

Penalties for a FOID Violation

If you are convicted of a FOID violation, you could face serious penalties. The punishment for a FOID violation depends on the severity of the offense and whether you have any prior convictions.

Possible penalties for a FOID violation include:

• Class A misdemeanor - Up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500

• Class 4 felony - One to three years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000

• Class 3 felony - Two to five years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000

What to Do If You Were Accused of a Firearm-Related Offense

If you have been accused of a firearm-related offense, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the criminal justice system and fight for the best possible outcome in your case. Do not provide any information to the police until you have had a chance to talk to your lawyer. You have a right to remain silent and avoid incriminating yourself. Taking advantage of this important right is one of the best things you can do to avoid worsening your situation.

Contact a Will County, IL Criminal FOID Violation Defense Attorney

Weapons charges and FOID violations can lead to loss of gun ownership privileges, steep fines, and imprisonment. Do not delay seeking help if you or someone you care about is facing gun-related charges. Contact a Will and Grundy County criminal defense lawyer Jack L. Zaremba for a free consultation Call 815-740-4025 today.

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