What Are Shoplifting Laws in Illinois?
On the outset, shoplifting may appear as a relatively petty criminal offense without severe criminal offenses. However, on several occasions, that may not be the case. For many retailers, shoplifting can be a major cause of their financial cause. As such, there are a large number of merchants who have started prosecuting even minor shoplifting crimes while the punishments can be extremely serious.
Because of the severity of the crime, it is imperative to get acquainted with the shoplifting laws of Illinois, as well as, punishments one could face when they are convicted of the crime. Contrary to several other American states, the state of Illinois has defined laws, which particularly focus on shoplifting while treating the crime distinctly from other types of theft crimes. It signifies that the state laws are extremely specific and there are different kinds of actions that can lead to shoplifting charges.
However, it is important to understand that the state of Illinois has not defined any specific shoplifting charge and that denotes the individual alleged shoplifting can be frequently charged for committing a theft. The state has defined the offense of shoplifting as robbing items from retailers or trying to deprive the retailer of the full retail value of an item. According to these guidelines, these actions may be regarded as shoplifting in the state of Illinois:
- Transferring merchandise from one package or container to another
- Transferring, altering, or removing any labels or price tags
- Transferring, carrying, possessing, or taking any retail product but not paying for it
- Having a shielding device for theft detection
- Under-ringing merchandise for another or yourself
- Trying to misrepresent your ownership of a product to a merchant
A prosecutor may not find it easy to establish the intent requirement. However, laws in Illinois permits the courts to infer the retention of merchandise or deprive a trader of the actual value of the item where there is proof that the accused
- Hide the merchandise and
- Removed the merchandise or item beyond the known station to receive payments
Also, the state also mentions the separate criminal offense of theft committed by the emergency exit. Although the specific exit used for committing a retail theft may seem to be a minor act, it might signify the distinction between a felony and a misdemeanor and may lead to more severe punishments upon conviction.
Defenses Against Theft
These general defenses include:
- Lack of intent
- Intoxication/insanity/impaired mental state
- Return of property
Punishments for Shoplifting in Illinois
Criminal penalties for shoplifting in Illinois depend on the existence of specific aggravating factors or the value of the merchandise stolen.
- Class 2 felony- Shoplifting merchandisers with a value of more than 300 USD including in distinct crimes committed in the same year and using the emergency exit.
- Class 3 felony- Shoplifting property amounting to 300 USD or less and the person has a prior conviction, as well as, used an emergency exit/ shoplifting property whose value is more than 300 USD, including in separate crimes committed in the same year can be penalized by a maximum fine of 25,000 USD and an imprisonment term of two to five years.
- Class 4 felony- Shoplifting merchandise less than 300 USF and has a prior conviction/ used the emergency exit for shoplifting can be penalized by an imprisonment term of one to three years and a maximum fine of 25,000 USD.
- Class A misdemeanor- Shoplifting merchandise worth 300 USD or less can be penalized by a maximum fine of 2,500 and a maximum imprisonment term of 1 year,