Theft / Property Crimes
There are a wide range of theft and property crimes that sound similar but are legally very different offenses. Depending on the offense and the specific circumstances, penalties and civil liability vary. The value of the property taken also impacts the extent of the penalty. Any time you are charged with a theft or property crime, it is important to contact a criminal defense attorney right away.
Types of Property and Theft Crimes
- Burglary—Burglary is knowingly entering a property or vehicle without permission with the intent to commit a felony or theft. This is a felony. The severity of the penalty increases if the burglary takes place in a residence, school, daycare or place of worship.
- Robbery—Robbery is defined as taking another person’s property by force or imminent threat of force. Both factors must be present: (1) force or threat of force, and (2) knowingly taking another’s property. Robbery is a felony, but the class of felony is determined by other factors including: (1) the location, (2) age of victim, and (3) presence of a weapon.
- Theft—Theft is knowingly taking another person’s property. This can be a misdemeanor or felony depending on the value of the property taken. Similarly, the severity can also be increased depending on: (1) location, (2) presence of a victim, (3) use of force.
- Retail Theft—Retail theft is also known as shoplifting. This occurs when someone (1) takes something from a store without paying, (2) alters the price tag to pay less for an item, (3) changes the packaging to pay less for an item, (4) rings the item up for less or (5) uses a theft detection shielding device to remove items from the store without paying for them. While most shoplifters are adults, employees also shoplift. The severity of the penalty is determined by the cost of what is stolen. Anything over $300 is a felony.
- Grand Theft—Grand theft is the theft of property of higher value. Any theft of over $500 in Illinois is considered a felony.
- Stolen Property—Stolen property is classified as theft, or knowingly taking another person’s property.
- Counterfeiting—Counterfeiting is the reproduction of money, documents and goods. This includes reproducing credit or debit cards, checks or making “knock-offs” of designer products and passing them off as the real thing.
- Worthless Checks “Kiting”—Writing checks from accounts with insufficient funds to cover a second check written from a second account with insufficient funds as a way to get checks to clear when there are no funds to cover the expense.
- Trafficking—Trafficking is a generic term used to describe illicit trade. It includes counterfeiting, piracy and selling on the black market to avoid taxes.
- Racketeering—Racketeering is an organized group that runs an illegal business or uses a legal business to launder funds and embezzle. This is a federal crime and is a felony.
Property crimes have criminal penalties and civil liabilities. In addition to any criminal charges and penalties, those guilty of theft may be liable for the cost of the theft. According to Illinois statute, the offender may be liable for:
- The actual damages of the theft equal to the full retail value of the merchandise.
- No less than $100, but no more than $1,000.
- The cost of attorney’s fees and court costs.
Theft Criminal Defense Attorney
Theft and property crimes can carry serious penalties depending on how much is stolen. Make sure you are covered if you are accused of a theft or property crime by calling a criminal defense attorney that specializes in property crimes. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Tower Legal can help defend you against any theft charges. Call their office today to discuss your theft or property crime charges.