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Are There Different Types Of Theft Charges?


There are different types of theft charges, and the type you are charged with will obviously have a lot to do with the number of items stolen and the circumstances under which they were taken. The most minor theft charges are for small shoplifting charges; even just taking a piece of gum has committed a class A misdemeanor, which is theft of anything below $300.

A theft is committed if someone takes something in a retail store, for example and walks past the last point of purchase in a retail store with the item somewhere on their person; if they are walking out with the item in their pocket, it will be difficult to claim they did not know it was in there, although I have handled a case in which that happened. A mother went right past the last check point at a grocery store with a whole basket of groceries. She had plenty of money and I am positive she was not trying to steal the food, she just completely spaced out and walked out while talking on the phone.

In Illinois, and in most states, the theft charge has to do with how much was taken and how, so there is a difference between theft and robbery or burglary. For basic theft, someone takes something with the intention to steal or to permanently deprive someone of that item or the use of that property. Using force or the threat of force turns that charge into a robbery and it can become even worse if a weapon is involved, and whether or not the weapon actually discharged, if it was a gun. The type of weapon also matters; if all those things add up, the worse things are and the higher the penalties would be.

There’s no criminal intent if someone’s kid put something in their pocket without them realizing it; it’s only theft if someone intended to permanently deprive someone of their property or the use of that property. If someone stole a car and ditched it, they would not be able to say they did not care if they took it away from the person permanently and were just taking it for a joy ride. If they ditched it and the owner was unable to find it, they have permanently deprived them of the use of that property, although that’s a whole other thing.

How Are Thefts Classified In Illinois?

Theft classifications in Illinois sat that any amount under $300 is a class A misdemeanor, which can bring up to 1 year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine and up to 24 months of probation. They may get a “conditional discharge,” which is like probation without a probation officer, so they would be on their own to make sure things got done.

They can sometimes get court supervision with an attorney, which means that, even if they plead guilty, it won’t go on their record as a conviction, which is very important, since a theft charge can adversely affect them later in life as a crime of moral turpitude, which is dishonesty and could affect them in many ways; it may even affect people who were here Illegally as well.

As far as penalties go, anything valued at more than $300 will draw a felony charge; in Illinois, that means a class 4 felony, which can mean 1-3 years in prison and although they can get probation, they can get time in the county jail for up to 6 months and up to 18 months of work release.

What Are The Repercussions Of Theft Charges?

Someone may have been caught stealing a pack of gum, and then 10 years later, when trying to get their citizenship after being a resident for all that time, this charge will come up on their record and could absolutely ruin everything, so it’s very important for these things to be taken care of properly.

If someone stole a pack of gum and they were on probation, since they were convicted of a theft previously, the second or subsequent offense would make it a class 4 felony even if the amount is under $300. Some thieves do this as a career; they’ll go into a grocery store and steal things and by the second or third time, they would be looking at felony charges, so it’s important to remember that.

What Is The Most Common Type Of Theft?

Shoplifting is one of the most common theft charges; it is amazing how people try to shoplift; they will load up a whole cart full of items and try to walk out like they were not paying attention. They usually get apprehended and brought back, but sometimes they take off. Most stores these days have security people and security cameras, so many people do get caught doing this. They try to take anything from baby clothes and baby formula, not high-end things like TVs, just little things like jewelry or makeup which can be very expensive.

They try to take very small things they can easily put in their pocket. A lot of people get in trouble; there is separate money amount as far as retail theft; anything more than $150 becomes a felony whereas a regular theft has to be over $300. A lot depends on what they took and the conditions under which they took it.

What Is The Difference Between Armed Robbery And Theft?

The next step robbery, which means something was taken by force or threat of force, such as when a thief confronts someone in the street and threatens them with a raised fist, even if they don’t actually hit, because they took something with the threat of force. Armed robbery is typically where the thief holds up someone with a gun; the armed robbery charge holds up even if they used a look-alike gun because the statute in Illinois states that it counts as an armed robbery if a weapon appeared to be real.

In Illinois, a regular robbery is a class 2 felony, which can lead to 3-7 years in prison, although that’s probationable. Armed robbery is a class X felony, which would be 6-30 years mandatory prison with no possibility of probation.

For more information on Kinds Of Theft Charges, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (847) 244-4636 today.

Barry Boches, Esq.

Get your questions answered - call me for your free phone consultation (847) 244-4636.

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