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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 defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawsRetail theft charges may seem minor in comparison to the grand scheme of things. However, they are not taken lightly in a court of law. The retail establishment may choose to detain a suspect without involving police enforcement. One benefit for the store to not include the cops at first is they retain the ability to question without a lawyer or guardian present. The detainee is not under arrest nor do they face charges until the police are involved. However, once the owner or manager contacts local authority, the suspect then faces retail theft charges, requiring proper criminal defense.

Civil Penalties

If a store does decide to press charges, they have the option to pursue civil damages. Many stores have established working relations with local attorneys to send out civil demand letters, often demanding the payment of a fine. However, lawyers and store owners do not have the authority to levy a fine; that is an ability retained by the courts. If the issue goes to trial, merchants can recover damages for all of the following:

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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois shoplifting lawyerPsychologists believe that, although people are inherently good, when given the opportunity to get something free through stealing, many people are likely to make an attempt. With this in mind, grocery stores and retailers across the country prefer to have a staff member in each department. These employees are intentionally placed to dissuade shoplifting through their presence. Managers and loss prevention specialist believe making eye-contact with someone debating shoplifting discourages the potential offender, keeping them honest and decreasing loss. Although thwarted on the sales floor, there are other opportunities for theft to occur. Money and product are often lost at the checkout counter.

Tactical or Mistake?

Everyone makes mistakes. Upon returning home after a shopping trip, customers will find that - while scanning quickly and providing excellent customer service by having a conversation - the cashier accidentally missed an item, and the store did not receive proper payment. At the self-checkout lane, items mistakenly are not scanned for many reasons, even when passed over the barcode reader. However, this is an opportunity that many use to obtain items without payment. There are two behaviors used most frequently to cheat at self-checkout lanes. These tactics are:

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