Retail theft in Illinois (aka Shoplifting) imposes harsh penalties on anyone who is caught stealing from a store. The statute in Illinois governing the criminal offense of retail theft is 720 ILCS 5/16A-13. Anyone who is charged with retail theft for the first time is likely to be surprised at how easily this offense becomes a felony.
The law regarding retail theft Illinois:
A person is guilty of retail theft if he or she knowingly takes possession of, carries away, transfers, or causes to be carried away or transferred any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale in a retail establishment with the intention of retaining such merchandise or depriving the merchant permanently of the possession, use or benefit of such merchandise, without paying the full retail value. See 720 ILCS 5/16A-3(a).
You don’t have to drop an item in your bag to steal from a store. Here are other retail thefts you should not try or ever consider as they are all governed under shop lifting in Illinois”:
Changing Price Tag — altering, transferring or removing a label or price tag from merchandise and attempt to purchase the at less than the full retail value.
Under-Ringing — a store clerk rings up a customer for less than the full retail value of the items
False Returns — presenting a receipt, gift card, or other document showing ownership of the property when this is not true, and he returns it for a cash refund, store credit, or other exchange.
Jamming Devices — using a jamming device to pass merchandise through security without an alarm.
Penalty for Retail Theft
Sentencing for retail theft depends on the dollar amount of the goods that were taken. If the value of the items was $150 or less, then the offense is a Class A misdemeanor. The possible sentence includes up to one year in jail and fine of $2,500. A conviction for this offense cannot be expunged or sealed.
If the total value of merchandise was greater than $150, then the defendant can be charged with a Class 4 felony. This type of felony has a sentence of 1-3 years in prison (Illinois Department of Corrections) and a fine of $25,000. No felony conviction can be expunged or sealed, generally.
Retail Theft — Illinois law change
Starting January 1, 2011, retail theft laws in Illinois have changed so that it is a misdemeanor if the value is $300 or less. If there is prior offense, that could causes the penalty to be enhances and there is the aggregate value issue that could also come into effect and that could greatly increase the severity of penalties.