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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyerIllinois state law broadly defines theft. Unfortunately, because of the unspecific regulations, many citizens are left with answerless questions. In short, the definition of theft is taking ownership of anything that does not belong to you. The description applies to anything from stealing a car to failing to sign out of a rental home on time. When it comes to theft charges, questions are natural. Here are a few of the more frequently voiced concerns. Remember: to find answers specific to the details of your case; you should contact an attorney directly. The answers here are generalized and may not apply to your situation.

How Are the Varying Degrees of Theft Differentiated?

Theft breaks down into several levels dependent on the dollar amount of the item or items taken. In Illinois, the breakdown is as follows:

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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyerSummer is here: the days are long, the nights are short, and the temperature is perfect for relaxation. This time of year, time seems to slow down, enabling society just to enjoy the ride of life. However, this slowdown leads to a particular element of restlessness, leading individuals to find their means to fill the time, often leads to loitering, peace disturbances, and other minor crimes. Unfortunately, many of these behaviors are rolled together into a single criminal charge of disorderly conduct. There are several classifications of disorderly conduct, including infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. The legal definition of the charge is vague, encompassing many actions that many do not realize are in direct violation of the law.

Infractions and Misdemeanors

Disorderly conduct is an all encompassing charge for a broad range of behavior. The simple form of the definition states that laws are broken when personal behavior alarms or disturbs another person or provokes a break in the peace. This description leaves many citizens unaware that their choices may cause legal trouble. You do not have to cause harm or destroy property, only behaving in a manner that may annoy someone else falls under this catch-all charge. Examples of behaviors that may result in a lower level infraction or misdemeanor include:

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Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois criminal attorneyWhat happens behind closed doors stays there, unless that behavior infringes upon the rights of another individual to be free from harm. Once accusations of domestic abuse between two people begin, these matters become the business of the state, local police officers, and your attorney. Unfortunately, many of these allegations stem from other agendas of the alleged victim. In many domestic abuse cases, the accusations are unfounded or a self-serving attempt to discredit a spouse in a child custody case. Each case varies from one to the next and utilizing the knowledge and experience of an attorney is advisable as one misstep in this delicate situation can drastically alter your future.

Possible Defenses

It is never advisable to go into a domestic violence case without having the proper legal backup. If you attempt and fail in court, not only is your reputation at stake, but there is the possibility of years of jail time and thousands of dollars in fines, up to $25,000.00 in some cases, not to mention the potential for losing any custodial rights to your children. However, there are a few common defenses that have proven successful in previous court cases given the right circumstances. These are:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shoplifting_20170428-021830_1.jpgShoplifting is one of those crimes in which anyone may have a proclivity. From a juvenile doing it to impress their friends to a single parent trying to provide for their family or even an elderly adult who mistakenly forgot the item at the bottom of the cart, shoplifting charges are not bound by age, race, or gender. Mainstream media has somewhat glorified the act by making it the subject of many Hollywood movies and song played on the radio, perhaps leading to an increase in shoplifting cases. However, the state of Illinois still believes stealing is not a victimless crime and anyone convicted of such allegations face harsh penalties. Fortunately, other alternatives are possible to conviction, given agreeable circumstances and utilizing the assistance of a proven attorney.

Traditional Consequences

Penalties accompanying shoplifting convictions depend primarily on the retail value of the item or items taken. The retail value is the cost at which the store sells the item, traditionally the full price regardless of a current sale or discount. If the item or items when added together amount to less than $300.00, the charge is a Class A misdemeanor, whereas over the $300.00 threshold is a Class 4 felony. If the offense occurred as a group effort, the total between all included parties determines the severity of the charges. Specifically, even if your portion of the theft amounted to the cost of a pack of gum, the charges also include the cost of the items taken by your alleged accomplices. Maximum penalties include:

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Illinois felony lawyer, Illinois defense attorneyWhen a crime is severe enough to constitute a felony conviction, it means that the penalty is punishable by at least one year in prison. Alternatively, a misdemeanor is less than one year in prison. Felonies break down into several different classes, ranging from one to four, Class X, and first-degree murder depending on the severity of the accused crime. Previously, punishments came based solely on the crime at hand and did not take into consideration other factors, including a previously spotless record. The Unified Code of Corrections changed at the end of 2016 with the passing of SB 3164, effectively altering the prison terms of those convicted of Class 3 or 4 felony.

The Punishments

During the sentencing of a crime, the presiding judge takes into account all parts to a story. With each criminal classification, there are parameters set in place that limits the authority of the judge ensuring that no penalty is too lenient or too harsh. The parameters for Class 3 and 4 felonies are as follows:

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