Reeder & Brown, P.C.


Know the Difference Between Retail Shoplifting and Felony Theft

 Posted on April 12,2017 in Theft and Shoplifting

Will County criminal defense attorney, felony theftIf you find yourself facing shoplifting charges, how will you know if the charges against you can be upgraded to include felony counts? While most citizens are likely to understand the basics of shoplifting, in Illinois there are laws that specifically target retail theft and are stricter than those in other states. Working with an experienced theft defense attorney is your best course of action for receiving the advice and counsel needed to face these potential challenges.

When Does Shoplifting Become a Felony?

The most basic definition of retail shoplifting is any instance when a person is alleged to take, possess, carry away, or transfer any retail merchandise; however, the intent to deprive the merchant of full value must be proven. Under this definition, a crime is said to be committed should the accused pay for the merchandise, but not pay full value—as if one were to change a price tag or “under ring” at checkout.

Under Illinois law, when shoplifting is a first offense and the value of the merchandise is under $300 (or $150 in motor fuel), then a misdemeanor charge is usually brought. However, under certain circumstances in Illinois, a misdemeanor charge of shoplifting can be upgraded to a felony if any of the following occur:

  • The value of merchandise taken exceeds $300 (or $150 in motor fuel)—even on a first offense;
  • There is a subsequent shoplifting charge, after a previous misdemeanor conviction;
  • There is use of an emergency exit to commit theft, even when value does not exceed $300; or
  • The retail theft of property, even when full retail value of which does not exceed $300 (or $150 for motor fuel) after a previous conviction of any type of theft, robbery, armed robbery, burglary, residential burglary, possession of burglary tools, home invasion, unlawful use of a credit card, or forgery.

Whether these circumstances apply to your case or not, obtaining the help of an experienced Illinois criminal defense lawyer is always a wise move when facing criminal charges. An aggressive defense provided by Will County criminal defense lawyers serving Plainfield, Bolingbrook, Romeoville, and Northern Illinois can help to ensure a defendant is protected throughout the process.

Protect Yourself and Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today

When facing shoplifting or felony theft charges, obtain the services of a knowledgeable Will County criminal defense attorney to ensure your full protection under the law. The experienced criminal defense lawyers at the Reeder & Brown, P.C. will help you to navigate the legal process and will provide you with a vigorous defense. Call 815-885-5980 right away to receive a free consultation, discuss all available options, and begin planning a defense today.


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