Theft is one of the most common crimes in Illinois and across the United States. From grocery stores to museums to apartments and homes, anything of value is a potential target for thieves. Despite elaborate security systems and other devices, property owners always have to worry about theft. That is why Illinois law employs a broad definition of theft crimes as well as a severe punishment scheme.
Definition of Theft in Illinois
The Illinois definition of theft appears in 720 ILCS 5/16-1. There are several different types of this offense, which revolve around possession and unauthorized control. A person commits theft in Illinois if they intentionally:
- Obtain another person’s property without authorization;
- Exert unauthorized control over another person’s property;
- Use deception to gain unauthorized control over another person’s property;
- Employ threats to gain unauthorized control over another person’s property; or
- Take possession of stolen property, despite knowing or having a reason to know that the property was stolen.
Penalties for Theft in Illinois
The Illinois penalties for theft also appear in 720 ILCS 5/16-1. There is a sliding scale based on the value of property stolen. For example, property theft of:
- Up to $500 — Is a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois, punishable by up to 364 days in prison, $2,500 in fines and 24 months of probation;
- Between $500 and $10,000 — Is a Class 3 felony in Illinois, punishable by up to 60 months in prison, $25,000 in fines and 30 months of probation;
- Between $10,000 and $100,000 — Is a Class 2 felony, punishable by up to 84 months in prison, $25,000 in fines and 48 months of probation;
- Between $100,000 and $500,000 — Is a Class 1 felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, $25,000 in fines and 48 months of probation;
- Between $500,000 and $1,000,000 — Is a non-probationable Class 1 felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, $25,000 in fines and no possibility of probation; and
- Beyond $1,000,000 — Is a Class X felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison, $25,000 in fines and no possibility of probation.
Furthermore, Illinois employs special penalties for theft crimes that occur in specific circumstances. The punishment increases if the theft occurred at a school or a place of worship. The same is true for the theft of government property and various other situations.
Do You Need Legal Help?
No matter what the criminal offense, all charges are serious. A sound strategy and an aggressive defense are essential for a positive outcome. To protect your rights in such situations, it is highly advisable to retain legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The Prior Law Firm in Bloomington, Illinois, has proven experience in matters of criminal defense. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by completing an online form.
(image courtesy of Scott Webb)