Chicago Theft Lawyer

man stealing purse from car window

Petty Theft, Grand Theft, Shoplifting, Larceny & Other Crimes

Have you been charged with a theft offense? Your legal situation is very serious whether you are charged with petty theft, grand theft, shoplifting, burglary, or other theft crimes. Some charged with petty theft, such as shoplifting, could plead guilty rather than go through a trial.

Having a misdemeanor on your record is not as serious as a felony. Still, it is a blot on your reputation that can significantly negatively impact your ability to get a job and will impact sentencing and charges if you are arrested again.

At my firm, the Law Offices of Mitch Furman, I am committed to providing high-quality, aggressive defense counsel in a range of larceny and theft crime charges, and I would like to hear from you immediately. As the firm’s founder and chief counsel, I will ensure that you understand the implications of any charges filed against you and advise you of the various options.

Attorney for Theft in Chicago

In Illinois, under 720 ILCS 5/16-1, 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.

The most common element that the prosecution must prove to secure a guilty finding in a theft case is that the defendant intended to permanently deprive the rightful owner of the use or benefit of said property. In other words, theft is a specific intent offense. Therefore, the prosecutor must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused intended to deprive the owner of the said property permanently. If the state attorney can only show that the defendant merely borrowed the said property, then the elements are not met, and a finding of not guilty should be entered following the trial.

Different Types of Theft Crimes in Illinois

Theft of Lost or Mislaid Property is codified under Section 720 ILCS 5/16-2 of the Illinois Criminal Code. The prosecution must prove the following to sustain a conviction for lost or mislaid property. That the defendant obtains control over the property and:

  1. Knows or learns the identity of the owner or knows, or is aware of, or learns of a reasonable method of identifying the owner and
  2. Fails to take reasonable measures to restore the property to the owner, and
  3. Intends to deprive the owner permanently of the use or benefit of the property.

Sentencing under Illinois law for theft of lost or mislaid property is a Class B Misdemeanor if the value does not exceed $500. Class A Misdemeanor if the value exceeds $500 but does not exceed $10,000. If the value of lost or mislaid property exceeds $10,000, the theft charge can be charged as a Class 4 felony crime.

Theft of Labor or Services is codified under Section 720 ILCS 5/16-3 of the Illinois Criminal Code. To sustain a conviction for theft of labor or services, the prosecution must prove that a  person knowingly obtains the use of property, labor, or services of another that are available only for hire by means of threat or deception or knowing that such use is without the consent of the person providing the property, labor or services.

Sentencing under Illinois law for theft of labor or services is a Class A Misdemeanor if the value does not exceed $500. However, if the theft involves library materials and costs over $300, the particular crime can be charged as a Class 3 Felony.

Theft From Coin Operated Machine is codified under Section 720 ILCS 5/16-5 of the Illinois Criminal Code. To sustain a conviction for theft from a coin-operated machine, the prosecution must prove that a person knowingly and without authority opens, breaks into, tampers with, triggers, or damages a coin-operated machine.

Sentencing under Illinois law for theft from a coin-operated machine is either a Class A or B Misdemeanor. However, if a  person who has been convicted of theft from a coin-operated machine and who has been previously convicted of any type of theft, robbery, armed robbery, burglary, residential burglary, possession of burglary tools, or home invasion is guilty of a Class 4 felony. 

Additionally, under 720 ILCS 5/16-6, if a person is in unlawful possession of a key or device for a coin-operated machine, misdemeanor or felony criminal charges, depending on their background, can be brought against that individual.

Theft of Utility Services is codified under Section 720 ILCS 5/16-14 of the Illinois Criminal Code. To sustain a conviction for theft of utility services, the prosecution must prove that the defendant, knowingly, without authority, diverts or interferes with any public water, gas, power supply, or other public services or installs any device with the intent to divert or interfere with any public water, gas, power supply, or other public services without the authority of the owner or entity furnishing or transmitting such product or services.

Sentencing under Illinois law for theft of utility services is either a Class A Misdemeanor or a Class 4 Felony. However, if the disruption of the public utility services or delay in the restoration of the public utility services affects 10 or more customers or affects an area of more than one square mile, then the theft charge can be filed as a Class 2 Felony.

Theft of Advertising Services is codified under Section 720 ILCS 5/16-17 of the Illinois Criminal Code. To sustain a conviction for theft of advertising services, the prosecution must prove that the accused knowingly attached or inserted an unauthorized advertisement in a newspaper or periodical and redistributes or intends to redistribute it to the public.

Sentencing under Illinois law for theft of advertising services is a Class A Misdemeanor. Additionally, under 720 ILCS 5/16-18, a person commits theft of communication services when they intend to defraud another by displacing, removing, or destroying any telegraph or telephone line, wire, cable, pole, or conduit.

Retail Theft is codified under Section 720 ILCS 5/16-25 of the Illinois Criminal Code. To sustain a conviction for rental theft, the prosecution must prove that the defendant took possession of or carried away any merchandise in a retail mercantile establishment to retain such merchandise or permanently deprive the merchant of the possession.

Under Illinois law, the criminal offense is a Class A misdemeanor if the merchandise taken from the merchant is under $300. If a person has been previously convicted of retail theft, robbery, armed robbery, burglary, residential burglary, possession of burglary tools, home invasion, unlawful use of a credit card, or forgery, he or she will be charged with a Class 4 felony.

black gloved hand taking a watch from display

My firm handles a wide variety of theft crimes, including:

Penalties for Theft Crimes in Illinois

In Illinois, property theft under $500 is a Class A misdemeanor offense with penalties of up to one year of jail time and a fine of $2500 for each offense. If the theft includes an act of violence or the presence of a weapon (whether it was used or not), the charges can filed as a Class X Felony. There are several classes of felony and misdemeanor. Theft of property over $500 is filed as a felony. If the theft occurs on church property or at a school, it can be classed as a felony even when the value of the item alleged to be stolen is under $500.

Discuss Your Case with a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have a prior conviction for a theft offense, it can impact your criminal history, the level of the charge, and the punishment imposed upon you in a conviction. As a Chicago criminal defense lawyer, I have defended countless people caught in the criminal justice system, many of whom were charged with theft crime. The first action to take is to call my firm.

Your case could involve shoddy evidence collection, rights violations, or other issues that could allow me to seek a case dismissal. The earlier I get involved, the better it could be for you. I know the law and have a skilled team to assist in crafting your defense case. Let my team at the Law Offices of Mitch Furman handle your defense against theft crime charges and help you avoid a criminal record and pursue a better outcome.

Contact us today for a free initial consultation with a criminal defense attorney. You have nothing to lose by calling us and everything to gain.

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