Shoplifting - Walking into a retail store and trying to walk out with an item that you have not paid for is considered a retail theft in Illinois. You can be charged with an ordinance violation, a misdemeanor or a felony.
Retail theft is a serious crime in Illinois. 720 ILCS 5/16-25 sets out the various penalties and types of shoplifting:
Pocketing or secreting an item (720 ILCS 5/16-25(a)(1))
Price switching (720 ILCS 5/16-25(a)(2))
Under-ringing (think of a self-scan situation) (720 ILCS 5/16-25(a)(4))
Misappropriating for personal use (usually, if you have privileges from working at a store)
Representing that you are the owner or stolen property in attempt to get a refund from the store (720 ILCS 5/16-25(a)(6)
Penalties for retail theft can be severe. If the value of the items was $300 or less, then the offense is a Class A misdemeanor.
The possible sentence includes up to one year in jail and a fine of $2,500. A conviction for this offense cannot be expunged or sealed. If the total value of the stolen merchandise was greater than $300, then the defendant can be charged with a Class 3 felony.
This type of felony has a sentence of 2-5 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections and a fine of $25,000. If you are charged with a felony, the lightest sentence you can receive is probation; however, that means you have a conviction and a permanent mark on your record. Employers will see this and it is a deterrent for hire. Generally, a felony conviction cannot be expunged or sealed.
If you have a prior retail theft in your background, or any theft-related offense such as robbery, armed robbery, residential burglary, possession of burglary tools or home invasion, the offense is automatically a Class 4 felony.
Contact Lamp Law LLC to find out more about charges specific to your situation.