Theft Defense Attorneys in Maywood, IL
Criminal Defense Lawyers Serving DuPage and Cook Counties
Illinois law defines theft very broadly as the exercise of unauthorized control over property belonging to another person or entity. This definition not only includes taking property or writing a hot check, but also failing to return a rental car on time, overstaying a lease, altering a price tag, hacking into a Wi-Fi network, and other such behavior. In addition to the use of force, taking property by use of threats or coercion and receiving stolen property are also forms of theft. Finally, the item need not have any tangible value: a person can steal trade secrets, personal identities, or stock options.
At Stringini & Garvey, P.C., we routinely represent persons accused of theft in jurisdictions throughout Chicagoland. Our senior attorneys have over 65 years of combined experience, and they are the ones who are solely responsible for your case. This experience gives us an edge, both at trial and during plea negotiations.
Penalties for Theft in Illinois
The law classifies theft according to the value of the property and the circumstances of the offense. These levels are:
- Class A Misdemeanor: Personal property valued at $500 or less, retail theft of $300 or less; the maximum penalty is one year in jail and $2,500 fine.
- Class 4 Felony: Theft of $500 or under from a school, place of worship, or government facility, theft of $500 or under if the person had at least one prior conviction; the maximum penalty is three years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
- Class 3 Felony: Personal property valued at $500 to $10,000, retail theft over $300; the maximum penalty is two to five years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
- Class 2 Felony: Theft of $500 to $10,000 from a school, place of worship, or government facility; the maximum penalty is three to seven years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
Restitution is required at all these levels. Other statutes cover the theft of over $10,000, as well as theft of property with no readily discernible value.
Very low-level theft is often something of a forgive-and-forget offense: if the offender can make immediate restitution in full, the prosecutor is sometimes willing to dismiss the case. In larger cases, we can work directly with the aggrieved party to make prompt restitution arrangements, which often eliminates the need for a criminal prosecution.
Theft is not like a weapons charge, in that it is one of the few cases that nearly always requires at least one civilian witness. Over time, these witnesses often relocate outside the jurisdiction of the court or lose interest in the case. It is difficult, and perhaps even impossible, for the state to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt without this evidence.
For prompt assistance with a theft charge, contact Stringini & Garvey, P.C. at 630-834-9595. We serve clients including the communities in DuPage, DeKalb, Kendall, McHenry, Cook, Kane, Lake, and Will Counties. Convenient payment plans are available.