What Can A Theft Charge Prevent Someone From Doing?
A theft charge can stop someone from doing a many things; many places won’t hire someone with a theft charge on their record, because theft is a crime of dishonesty and moral turpitude. Another instance would be if the person was testifying in a case as a witness; there are jury instructions that state that if someone had been convicted of theft or any crime of moral turpitude, meaning they were dishonest, that can be used to impeach their credibility, which means, if they testified, another attorney can cross-examine and bring up the previous theft conviction.
A theft charge can also be very negative on a citizenship application because it’s becoming harder to get jobs with a theft conviction. People are getting much more technically picky on things so they can weed people out and decide not to take a chance on a particular person, which is how it could very adversely affect someone if they had a theft conviction on their record.
What Are Some Of The Harsher Penalties For A Theft Charge?
The theft will be charged according to the amount that was stolen, so an amount from $300 up to $1,000 will have one charge, whereas over $10,000 is a whole separate class of felony, with yet another class of felony if it was over $100,000. It’s possible to be sent to prison for any charges over $300, depending on how much was taken; the more they took, the more prison time they face.
These things can add up; first of all, in Illinois, the person can’t get probation for a Class II felony within 10 years, so suddenly that class II felony which carried 3-7 years but probationable becomes non-probationable. If the person had two previous convictions, the third one will be treated as a Class X felony regardless of the amount. More than one conviction, they add up; the more the person had been charged in the past, the worse their potential punishment will be.
What Factors Can Make Theft Charges Worse?
This would depend on how much restitution is involved; if someone was caught walking out with a cart full of jewelry, but it was all returned undamaged, it will be less bad than if they got rid of the stuff at a pawn shop and it was gone. It is important to do whatever it takes to make the injured person whole again; that’s why one of the first things the state attorney will consider is whether restitution was involved and whether their client could pay it.
I handled a case where a lady had taken about $18,000 from the marching band’s fund. We were able to work something out where she paid it all back, so I was able to get her a misdemeanor charge. She was in her late 50s and had never committed a felony in her life; she was tempted and took the money. It wasn’t the wisest thing to do, but she was obviously not a career criminal. These are some things that can make a difference, so as long as the person could come up with the restitution, they are more likely to get a much better offer from the state’s attorney.
In another case, the person was looking at a felony and had to pay $4,000 as restitution. We would probably get him a misdemeanor if he came up with the restitution up front, although if he couldn’t, the felony would be on his record for the rest of his life. It might become tough sometimes because the person may deserve a bit of a break but he would just not have the restitution upfront, and not many people would be sympathetic to him; they will say he should have thought about it before he stole from someone else, so they may not get their misdemeanor after they just took $4,000 from them however they did it.
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