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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
630-472-9700Available 24/7

Shoplifting Allegations in Illinois

Posted on in Criminal Defense

shoplifting accusationThe signs are everywhere in retail establishments: “Shoplifters will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” What many do not realize, however, is that engaging in the act of shoplifting could result in serious criminal consequences, as well as a felony conviction.

Illinois Shoplifting Laws

Under Illinois law, stealing goods worth less than $300 will usually result in a misdemeanor. Anything greater than that is a felony. Stealing certain goods, such as gasoline, may be a felony even on a first offense. Second offenses lead to felony charges, regardless of the value of the items stolen.

Even being suspected of shoplifting can have major implications on the person’s life. It can be humiliating to be questioned for something like this, and can make future shopping situations extremely uncomfortable. For instance, two women wrongfully accused by Victoria’s Secret of stealing underwear from an Orland Park store are filing a $100,000 lawsuit against the store for the emotional embarrassment they suffered due to the false allegations.

Regardless of the truth or falsity of the allegations, a person has rights when he or she is suspected of shoplifting. Store employees and security personnel do not share the same obligations as police officers in these circumstances. They do not need to read the person his or her rights, tell of the right to have an attorney, or allow a phone call to be made. They are also not permitted to detain the person in a confined area for an unreasonable amount of time. They can keep him or her only for as long as it takes to complete a reasonable investigation of the alleged incident.

Because the store employees do not have the same rights as police officers, the suspected shoplifter maintains many of his or her rights in the investigation process. He or she cannot be compelled to give store employees any information, and the police will likely be called regardless of his or her level of cooperation. The suspected shoplifter should not say anything that can be used against him or her later in the case and should wait for police to arrive. The police will inform the suspected shoplifter of his or her legal rights, and he or she can make decisions from there. The best decision is always to contact a retail theft criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Accused of Shoplifting in Illinois?

Shoplifting can have major punishments associated with it, including fines, imprisonment, and being banned from certain premises. Multiple offenses carry even stiffer punishments and should be taken very seriously. Our experienced DuPage County retail theft criminal defense attorneys will protect your legal rights through the litigation process. Kathryn L. Harry Associates, P.C. is a well-respected Oak Brook and Naperville-based criminal defense law firm that can take care of most of your criminal defense concerns. If you have been charged with retail theft or any other crime, please do not hesitate to contact us for a consultation at 630-472-9700.

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