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Aurora Theft Defense Attorney

Have you been charged with a theft-related crime?

Property Theft is considered a very serious crime in Illinois. Property Theft can come in many different forms and will have varying consequences based on the severity of the offense. Theft crimes can range from Property Theft, Retail Theft, Possession of Stolen Property, and Theft of Government or State Supported Property. In the case of Retail Theft, retailers lose millions of dollars to retail theft by both consumers and employees, and they have lobbyist working very hard to keep Illinois Laws tough on theft related crimes. Penalties for Theft of Government or State Supported Property are very severe, regardless of the value of the property taken. Finally, theft from another individual or possession of stolen property will have varying degrees of penalties depending on the value of the alleged stolen property.

Generally speaking, theft is the unlawful taking of property or services, that belongs to someone else, without their permission, with the intent to permanently deprive the original owner of said property.

The applicable Illinois statute is in Illinois is 720 ILCS 5/16-1 which states in part:

"A person commits theft when he or she knowingly:

(1) Obtains or exerts unauthorized control over property of the owner; or

(2) Obtains by deception control over property of the owner; or

(3) Obtains by threat control over property of the owner; or

(4) Obtains control over stolen property knowing the property to have been stolen or under such circumstances as would reasonably induce him or her to believe that the property was stolen; or

(5) Obtains or exerts control over property in the custody of any law enforcement agency which any law enforcement officer or any individual acting in behalf of a law enforcement agency explicitly represents to the person as being stolen or represents to the person such circumstances as would reasonably induce the person to believe that the property was stolen, and

(A) Intends to deprive the owner permanently of the use or benefit of the property; or

(B) Knowingly uses, conceals or abandons the

property in such manner as to deprive the owner permanently of such use or benefit; or

(C) Uses, conceals, or abandons the property knowing such use, concealment or abandonment probably will deprive the owner permanently of such use or benefit."

Each Theft case is unique and very fact specific. Prosecutors will evaluate the following issues to determine what appropriate charges should apply in your theft related case:

  • What type of property was unlawfully taken?
  • What is the value of the property?
  • What are the circumstances of the alleged Theft?
  • What is the criminal history of the Defendant?

Penalties for Theft Crimes in Illinois:

The applicable Illinois Statue is 725 ILCS 5/16-1(b), which states in part:

(1) Theft of property not from the person and not exceeding $300 in value is a Class A misdemeanor.

(1.1) Theft of property not from the person and not exceeding $300 in value is a Class 4 felony if the theft was committed in a school or place of worship or if the theft was of governmental property.

(2) A person who has been convicted of theft of property not from the person and not exceeding $300 in value who has been previously convicted of any type of theft, robbery, armed robbery, burglary, residential burglary, possession of burglary tools, home invasion, forgery, a violation of Section 4‑103, 4‑103.1, 4‑103.2, or 4‑103.3 of the Illinois Vehicle Code relating to the possession of a stolen or converted motor vehicle, or a violation of Section 17‑36 of the Criminal Code of 1961 or Section 8 of the Illinois Credit Card and Debit Card Act is guilty of a Class 4 felony.

(4) Theft of property from the person not exceeding $300 in value, or theft of property exceeding $300 and not exceeding $10,000 in value, is a Class 3 felony.

(4.1) Theft of property from the person not exceeding $300 in value, or theft of property exceeding $500 and not exceeding $10,000 in value, is a Class 2 felony if the theft was committed in a school or place of worship or if the theft was of governmental property.

(5) Theft of property exceeding $10,000 and not exceeding $100,000 in value is a Class 2 felony.

(5.1) Theft of property exceeding $10,000 and not exceeding $100,000 in value is a Class 1 felony if the theft was committed in a school or place of worship or if the theft was of governmental property.

(6) Theft of property exceeding $100,000 and not exceeding $500,000 in value is a Class 1 felony.

(6.1) Theft of property exceeding $100,000 in value is a Class X felony if the theft was committed in a school or place of worship or if the theft was of governmental property.

(6.2) Theft of property exceeding $500,000 and not exceeding $1,000,000 in value is a Class 1 non‑probationable felony.

(6.3) Theft of property exceeding $1,000,000 in value is a Class X felony.

As you can see, our Illinois legislature has prescribed varying penalties based on the type of property, value of the allegedly stolen item, and the criminal history of the defendant. Further, if you are found guilty of this offense, Prosecutors may ask for harsher sentencing based on the location of the alleged theft, circumstances surrounding the victim, and your prior criminal history.

Because of the wide variety of penalties and consequences for the varying types of Theft cases, your sentences may also vary widely if you are found guilty. If you are charged with a non-probationable Felony Theft, you will be sentenced by the Presiding Judge to a term in the Illinois Department of Corrections. If you are eligible for Probation, the Presiding Judge in your case can sentence you to a period of Probation, Counseling, Public Service Work, and may even require you to pay restitution to the alleged victim. Additionally, if you are not a citizen of the United States, a conviction for Felony Theft can lead to your deportation

Defenses to Theft Offenses in Illinois

In order to prepare a defense to the Criminal Charge of Theft, an experienced Theft Defense Attorney will analyze the evidence that the Prosecutor will use to prove their case. There will be certain types of evidence that will determine the strength of the Prosecution's case such as:

  • Photographs or Video of the alleged stolen items.
  • Photographs or Video of the location where the alleged Theft took place.
  • Written statements of the alleged victim.
  • Police Reports of the Investigating Officers who arrived on scene..
  • 911 recordings made at the time of the incident.
  • Any written or verbal statements made by the accused.
  • Any witness statements from individuals that are not from the alleged victim.
  • Prior Theft related convictions of the accused.
  • Availability of Complaining Witnesses.
  • Evidence of the value of the alleged stolen item.

In some instances, some counties offer a Diversion program, in which you may be required to perform community service work and pay all associated costs and fees in exchange for a dismissal of your Theft charge. If this type of Diversion program is not available, an experienced Theft Defense Attorney may be able to have your charges dismissed or reduced based on a lack of evidence. If trial is the only option, the Prosecutor needs to be able prove that you intended to "Permanently Deprive" the original owner of the alleged stolen property. In addition, if the complaining witness is not available to testify, your case may be dismissed, because you have an absolute right to confront your accuser. Finally, the Prosecutor has the ultimate burden of proving your case "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt," and must convince a Judge or a Jury that they have met that burden before you can be found guilty of Theft.

Contact an Aurora Theft Defense Attorney

Theft is a very serious criminal offense, one that should be taken seriously. The public policy behind the harsh sentences for theft is to protect people's ownership of their property. A conviction for theft can also carry with it very serious consequences, and can irreparably damage your reputation and employment opportunities. I can provide you with advice on how to address your pending theft case and can provide you with a plan to protect your freedom and your future. I understand the value of your freedom and the importance of your reputation and I will use my knowledge and experience to secure the best possible results in your case.

To contact a Theft Defense Attorney at the Law Offices of David Lee, Please call:

(630) 901-8700

The Law Offices of David Lee is available in Kane, Kendall, Dupage and Dekalb Counties

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