Kane County Theft Defense Attorney

Criminal Lawyer for Those Charged with Retail Theft and Shoplifting in Aurora, Elgin and Geneva

Statistics show that there are approximately 27 million people, or roughly one out of every 11 adults, in the United States who have shoplifted. In Illinois, thousands of individuals are arrested for retail theft each year. Because so many people do it, theft crimes such as shoplifting may seem like no big deal, but the law does not treat them lightly. Even stealing small amounts of merchandise from a retail establishment can result in severe consequences which could include heavy fines and jail time. If you are charged with shoplifting or any other theft crime in Illinois, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer by your side fighting hard to protect your legal rights.

Goostree Law Group is ready to help defend your theft crimes charge. Attorney Jeff Muntz handles all of our theft and shoplifting cases, as well as all other criminal defense matters. Jeff is a former DuPage County prosecutor, and he worked in the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office for over 8 years. He has handled theft crime cases from both the prosecution and defense side, and he has a successful track record with these types of cases. Jeff understands the inner workings of the Illinois criminal justice system, and he knows the most effective defense strategies to help his clients mitigate their circumstances as much as possible.

Jeff defends clients for all types of theft crime charges, including but not limited to:

  • Shoplifting/Retail Theft
  • Petty Theft
  • Larceny
  • Burglary
  • Robbery
  • Auto Theft
  • Possession of Stolen Property
  • Online Theft
  • Home Invasion Theft
  • Identity Theft

Shoplifting Laws in Illinois

Shoplifting is defined more broadly in Illinois than in many other states. It is defined generally as either stealing items from merchants or an attempt to deprive merchants of the full retail value of their merchandise. There are several actions that could result in an individual being charged with shoplifting:

  • Knowingly possessing, transferring, carrying away, or encouraging someone to carry away merchandise from a retail establishment without paying for it and with the intention of permanently depriving the establishment of the use of that merchandise;
  • Removing, altering, or recoding a price tag or barcode in order to pay less than the established value of an item (as determined by the merchant);
  • Possession or use of a theft detection shielding device to block or jam the security alarms in order to sneak an item past a scanning device without paying;
  • Failure to return an item that was leased after the lease has expired, or failure to pay the established value of the item within 10 days of a demand letter that was sent by the merchant;
  • Misrepresenting ownership of an item; e.g., taking an item off the shelf and trying to return it to the merchant for a refund without having purchased the item in the first place;
  • Using the emergency exit to take items from a retail establishment without making full payment;
  • A retail employee who “under-rings” merchandise to cause the register to reflect less than its full value.

Those convicted of retail theft can face harsh penalties, depending on the severity of the offense:

  • Shoplifting property with a combined value of $300 or less is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable with fines of up to $2,500 and up to one year in county jail;
  • Shoplifting property with a combined value of $300 or less when there is a prior conviction or when the offender uses an emergency exit is a Class 4 felony, punishable with fines of up to $25,000 and up to one to three years in state prison;
  • Shoplifting property with a combined value of $300 or less when there is a prior conviction and when the offender uses an emergency exit is a Class 3 felony, punishable with fines of up to $25,000 and up to two to five years in state prison;
  • Shoplifting property with a combined value of $300 or more is a Class 3 felony, punishable with fines of up to $25,000 and up to two to five years in state prison;
  • Shoplifting property with a combined value of $300 or more when the offender uses an emergency exit is a Class 2 felony, punishable with fines of up to $25,000 and up to three to 7 years in state prison.

In addition to the criminal penalties for retail theft, you may also be held liable for civil penalties. These may include having to pay the establishment the set value of the merchandise, additional damages of up to $1,000, and attorney fees and court costs.

Speak with a Skilled Aurora Theft and Shoplifting Lawyer

Theft crimes are serious business, and even stealing small amounts of merchandise from a retail store can result in harsh consequences. With so much at stake, you cannot afford to leave things to chance. You need someone in your corner who knows how the system works.

Attorney Jeff Muntz has extensive experience and in-depth knowledge of shoplifting and other theft crime cases. Jeff can thoroughly assess your case and advise you of your legal rights, options, and the most effective defense strategies based on your specific circumstances. For a free consultation with Attorney Muntz, contact us today at 630-584-4800.

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Goostree Law Group

Goostree Law Group

 555 S. Randall Road, Suite 200
St. Charles, IL 60174

 630-584-4800

 1770 Park Street, Suite 205
Naperville IL 60563

 630-364-4046

 400 S. County Farm Road, Suite 300
Wheaton, IL 60187

 630-407-1777

Our Illinois divorce attorneys represent clients in Kane County, DuPage County, Kendall County and DeKalb County, including Geneva, Batavia, St.Charles, Wayne, Wasco, Elburn, Virgil, Lily Lake, Aurora, North Aurora, Elgin, South Elgin, Bartlett, Crystal Lake, Gilberts, Millcreek, Maple Park, Kaneville, LaFox, Yorkville, Oswego, Plano, Sugar Grove, Big Rock, Bristol, Newark, DeKalb, Sycamore, Naperville, Wheaton, West Chicago, Winfield, Warrenville, Downers Grove, Lombard, Oak Brook, Streamwood, Hoffman Estates, Barrington, South Barrington, Lake Barrington, Schaumburg, Big Grove, Boulder Hill, Bristol, Joliet, Kendall, Lisbon, Minooka, Montgomery, Plainfield, Sandwich, Yorkville and many other cities.

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