Decatur, Illinois Theft Crimes Lawyer
Theft is perhaps the most basic crime the legal system deals with. When one person takes another person’s property without permission, the taker can be charged with a variety of theft crimes depending on the specific facts and circumstances. Indeed, in many cases it does not matter what was stolen so much as the monetary value of what was stolen.
Even if you are only looking at a misdemeanor theft charge, it is still in your best legal interest to work with an attorney who can guide you through the system. The experienced Decatur, Illinois theft crimes lawyers at Patel Law, PC, represent many people such as yourself charged with serious offenses. We can assist you in seeking a more favorable outcome to your criminal case.
How Illinois Law Classifies Theft and Shoplifting
There are three basic elements of theft under Illinois law:
- the defendant knowingly took or obtained control over another person’s property;
- the defendant acted without authorization or improperly obtained authorization through force or deception; and
- the defendant intended to permanently deprive the rightful owner of their property.
A prosecutor must prove all three of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction. The state must also introduce evidence regarding the value of the allegedly stolen property. This is crucial because the Illinois theft statute defines the severity of an offense based on this value. For example, theft of property valued at $500 or less and not taken from a person is considered a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a jail sentence of up to one year. But if that same property was taken from a person, the charge is bumped to a Class 3 felony, where a conviction carries a maximum jail term of five years. And theft may be charged as a Class X felony–the most severe offense level in Illinois–if the stolen property was valued at $100,000 and certain special conditions apply, such as the theft was committed in a school, place of worship, or against the government.
It is also worth noting that retail theft–shoplifting–is defined as a separate class of theft offense in Illinois. Retail theft involves taking possession of merchandise in a store and making any effort to leave the store without paying the full retail price. The attempt does not have to be successful. In other words, if a store employee catches you trying to shoplift, you can still be arrested and charged with theft even if you never actually left the store with the item.
Contact Patel Law Today
Theft cases are often more complex than you may realize, especially when there are disputed facts regarding the value of the property or services involved. Even a seemingly “open and shut” case may have a number of holes that a skilled Decatur, Illinois theft crimes lawyer can identify and exploit on behalf of their client. So if you have been charged with any form of theft and need legal advice or representation, contact Patel Law, PC, today to schedule a free case evaluation.