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Navigate Your Case with Chicago Theft Crime Attorneys

Experienced Theft Lawyer in Chicago 

Dealing with theft-related charges in Chicago, Illinois, could be overwhelming since you could end up in jail if convicted. Still, you must defend yourself against these charges to reduce the risk of an adverse outcome at the end of your trial.

The first step to establishing a good defense and avoiding a conviction is understanding the nature of your charge. There are several types of theft offenses under Illinois law. The details provided here can help you understand how each works and what you’re up against.

You’ll likely need professional legal help from a skilled Chicago theft attorney to help you formulate a working defense strategy according to your specific theft crime charge. We at the Hirsch Law Group have extensive experience and knowledge. We can help you fight for a positive outcome throughout your trial.  

Read on to learn more about theft crimes in Chicago, Illinois, and specific ways our theft criminal defense attorneys can assist you.

Types of Theft Offenses Under Illinois Law

Illinois has different categories of theft crimes depending on how the crimes are committed and the nature of the stolen property. Some of those categories are discussed below.

General Theft

General theft crimes are the most common. They involve unlawfully obtaining another’s property or exercising control over such property without the owner’s authority. Some of the acts that constitute general theft include the following:

  • Obtaining property by deception, also known as theft by deception
  • Obtaining control over property by threatening the owner
  • Knowingly obtaining control over previously stolen property
  • Obtaining or exerting unauthorized control over stolen property kept in the custody of a law enforcement agency.

Classification of General Theft Crimes 

General theft crimes are classified as misdemeanors or felonies depending on several factors, including:

  • Whether the property was stolen from a person
  • The value of the stolen property
  • Where the crime was committed 
  • Whether the suspect has been convicted of prior theft crimes.

For instance, property theft (not from a person) valued below $500 is a Class A misdemeanor. But it becomes elevated to a Class 4 felony in the following circumstances:

  • If it was committed in a school or place of worship
  • If the stolen item is government property
  • If the suspect had a prior conviction for theft, burglary, robbery, armed robbery, or other related offenses.

In contrast, theft from a person of property valued at $500 or less is a straight Class 3 felony and attracts more severe penalties.

In all other cases, the rule is that the greater the value of the stolen property, the more severe the offense and the higher the penalties.

 

Retail Theft

Retail theft, also known as shoplifting, involves stealing goods or products offered for sale in a retail establishment. Some of the acts that amount to retail theft include the following:

  • Taking or removing goods displayed or held for sale without paying for them to permanently deprive the seller of the product
  • Altering or removing the price tag of a product and attempting to purchase it at a lesser price
  • Transferring goods on display from the container where they are being displayed to a different container while intending to deprive the seller of the full retail value of the goods
  • Under-ringing: This involves causing a cash register or sales recording device to record or calculate less than the full price for a product to deprive the seller of the full retail value.
  • Removing a shopping cart from retailers’ premises without authorization.

Classification of Retail Theft Crimes 

Like general theft crimes, retail theft crimes are classified as misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the value of the stolen property and the suspect’s criminal history.

For instance, if the stolen property’s value is less than $300 or $150 for motor fuels, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor. It becomes a Class 4 felony if the offender was previously convicted for a similar offense. If the property value exceeds the above figures, it becomes a Class 3 felony or Class 2 felony if an emergency exit was used to escape the crime scene.

 

Identity Theft

Under Illinois law, using another person’s personal information to commit a crime is an offense. The crimes in this category are collectively known as identity theft. They could involve different acts, including the following:

  • Using another person’s personal information, such as their name, address, or Social Security Number, to fraudulently obtain credit, money, goods, services, or property.
  • Using the above information to commit a felony
  • Obtaining, selling, or possessing such information to use them to commit a felony
  • Using, possessing, or transferring tools used to produce fake identification documents knowing that the documents produced will be used to commit a felony
  • Using a person’s information or identification document to portray oneself as the other person whose information is being used without their permission.

If the offense is committed against anyone 60 years or older, a person with a disability, or to further gang activities, it transforms into a more severe offense-aggravated identity theft.

Identity theft, in all cases, is a felony. Like the previous theft crimes, the value of the goods or credit received from the theft, the nature of the victim, and the suspect’s criminal history are some of the factors that determine the specific felony class for each identity.

If you’re facing identity theft charges in Illinois, you can discuss with your theft crimes lawyer to know the assigned felony class for your charge and its legal implications.

An experienced attorney will also help you explore other defense options, such as proving your innocence or seeking a plea deal.

Other Theft Related Offenses

Auto Theft 

Auto theft or vehicular hijacking involves taking a motor vehicle from a person through the use of or threat of force. This offense is a Class 1 felony. You could be sent to prison for a long time if convicted.

Burglary

Burglary involves entering a person’s premises to commit theft or any other felony. This crime would be a Class 3 felony unless any part of the premises where the burglary occurred was damaged while committing the crime. In that case, it is elevated to a Class 2 felony. 

The offense becomes a Class 1 felony if it occurs in a school, daycare center, or place of worship and is punished accordingly.

Possession of Burglary Tools

Besides the actual act of burglary, it is also an offense for anyone other than a law enforcement agent or anyone working in the security industry to have any lock-breaking device in their possession. This offense is classified as a Class 4 felony.

Embezzlement

Embezzlement occurs when a person misuses or diverts funds entrusted to them. Embezzlement in Illinois is charged under the general theft statutory provisions. This means the higher the amount involved, the more severe the offense.

If your theft charges are embezzlement related, it would likely benefit you to put an embezzlement attorney in charge of your case. They can fight for you and, where possible, help you avoid a theft conviction and the penalties that follow.

 Penalties for Theft Crimes in Chicago, Illinois 

The penalties for theft crimes depend on the specific classification of the offense as follows;

  • Class A misdemeanor: A year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines
  • Class 4 felony: 1-3 years jail time and not more than $25,000 in fines
  • Class 3 felony: 2-5 years jail time and up to $25,000 in fines
  • Class 2 felony: 3-7 years imprisonment and up to $25,000 in fines
  • Class 1 felony: 4-15 years in prison and not more than $25,000 in fines
  • Class x felony: 6-30 years jail time and up to $25,000 in fines.

The Importance of Legal Representation

Navigating a theft crime case can be challenging and overwhelming, especially if you do not have legal knowledge and experience in criminal defense. This is why it is crucial to seek the help of Chicago theft crime attorneys who specialize in handling such cases.

They can guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, gather evidence to strengthen your defense, and negotiate with prosecutors for a favorable outcome. With their experience and expertise, you have a better chance of achieving a positive outcome in your case.

The Importance of Legal Representation

Navigating a theft crime case can be challenging and overwhelming, especially if you do not have legal knowledge and experience in criminal defense. This is why it is crucial to seek the help of Chicago theft crime attorneys who specialize in handling such cases.

They can guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, gather evidence to strengthen your defense, and negotiate with prosecutors for a favorable outcome. With their experience and expertise, you have a better chance of achieving a positive outcome in your case.

 

How Our Attorneys Can Help

Asides from the above criminal law penalties, a conviction for theft crimes will stay on your criminal record for life, especially as a convicted felon. Even after completing your sentence, the societal Restrictions on Felons could make it difficult for you to secure gainful employment and improve your standard of living since your integrity is already questionable.

The most viable way out is to defend yourself and fight for your future with the help of skilled criminal defense lawyers with experience defending theft crimes.

At the Hirsch Law Group, you can rely on us to provide you with topnotch legal representation in any kind of theft crime, including the following:

  • Vehicular hijacking / aggravated vehicular hijacking
  • Receiving a stolen vehicle 
  • Embezzlement 
  • Burglary
  • Possession of burglary tools 
  • Retail theft

Our goal with each case is to help clients avoid a guilty verdict or minimize the extent of their criminal liability using the extensive legal resources at our disposal. 

Our dogged attorneys understand the defenses available in theft cases. They can help you establish a suitable defense in your case and will not hesitate to assert your rights at each stage of the criminal justice process. 

Yes, there are no absolute guarantees. But with our team by your side, you can rest easy, knowing that we’ll go all out to defend you and strive to achieve an acceptable outcome.

 

Contact Our Aggressive Chicago Criminal Attorneys for Your Theft Charges

 

If you are facing theft charges in Chicago, your best course of action is to contact a skilled and experienced Chicago theft lawyer as soon as possible. The sooner you have an attorney on your side, the better your chances are of building a solid defense and fighting for a favorable outcome.

At Hirsch Law Group, our team of aggressive criminal attorneys has years of experience defending clients charged with theft crimes in Chicago and across Illinois. Our lawyers are highly knowledgeable in Illinois criminal law, including the ins and outs of theft charges.

They will not hesitate to use this knowledge to provide a solid defense that gives you a fighting chance for your freedom. To schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case, call us at (815) 451-3200 or contact us online today. Our attorneys are available 24/7 to take your calls and help you confidently navigate the criminal justice system.