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How Can Changes to Illinois Retail Theft Laws Affect Your Criminal Case?

 Posted on May 08, 2020 in Retail Theft

Plainfield theft defense attorney

Under Illinois law, retail theft of items worth $300 or greater in value could put an offender in prison for two to five years with $25,000 in fines. This is the same punishment that someone would receive for aggravated battery, and a new bill is progressing that could raise the ceiling on the amount stolen for these serious charges. Most states in the country have eased their shoplifting and retail theft laws in an attempt to put fewer non-violent offenders in prison, but Illinois remains one of the six most punishing states in the country for crimes of this nature. If you are facing any type of theft charges, it is crucial to work with an accomplished criminal defense lawyer to make sure your rights are protected.

Cook County Laws and New Statewide Bills

Since 2016, the Cook County State’s Attorney, Kim Foxx, has deemed any retail thefts under $1,000 in value to be a misdemeanor, not a felony charge. This is much more lenient than Illinois state law, and it is important to note that the consequences of your case could dramatically change if you were accused of retail theft in Chicago and other parts of Cook County. 

However, these standards could affect statewide legislation soon. Illinois State Representative Justin Slaughter is sponsoring a bill that made its way out of the Judiciary Criminal Committee in mid-2019 and has gained additional co-sponsors in recent months. This legislation has the potential to raise the cap for retail theft felony charges to $2,000 or greater in value, which is significantly higher than the current Cook County policy. 

This bill is subject to change, as opponents argue that the rise in the value amount is too drastic and could result in a sharp increase in thefts across the state. The supporters of the bill argue that a higher cap for convictions would address the disproportionate amount of non-violent offenders that are in prison, and it would put the state more in line with retail theft laws across the nation.

Contact a Joliet, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

The new Illinois bill mentioned above has the potential to alter the nature of retail theft charges soon. Regardless of whether this new legislation is passed, experienced legal guidance is a necessity if you have been accused of retail theft. A felony conviction for retail theft could result in serious consequences, including prison time and steep fines. The Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C., can help you develop a strong defense in court to protect your personal and professional reputation. Schedule a free consultation with a Will County retail theft attorney by calling us today at 815-666-1285.




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