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Retail Theft: 720 ILCS 5/16-25

On Behalf of | Oct 7, 2015 | Criminal Defense |

One of the most common criminal charges in Chicago is Retail Theft in violation of 720 ILCS 5/16-25(a), which provides:

(a) A person commits retail theft when he or she knowingly: 
        (1) 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 mercantile establishment with the intention of retaining such merchandise or with the intention of depriving the merchant permanently of the possession, use or benefit of such merchandise without paying the full retail value of such merchandise

However, Retail Theft 720 ILCS 5/16-25 includes more than just taking a piece of jewelry, article of clothing, or an I-Phone.  Retail Theft includes transferring or removing labels or price tags with the intent to purchase items of a lesser retail value.  To read the entire statute check out: Retail Theft Statute

When a prosecutor is trying to obtain a conviction for Retail Theft 720 ILCS 5/16-25 there are hurdles that he or she must overcome depending on the facts of each case.  As a preliminary matter, the prosecutor will have to show the Defendant’s specific intent, ownership of the items, possession by the defendant and establish that place of business was a retail establishment.  In many theft cases where the defendant has not left the store a prosecutor will struggle with showing “intent” to steal.  Further, if a Defendant is searched by a police officer and items from the store are found on the Defendant’s person, then the Prosecutor must show that the police officer had probable cause to search the defendant for stolen items.

A violation of 720 ILCS 5/16-25(a)(1)-(6),(8) is typically Class A Misdemeanor if the value of the item is less than $300 and the item is not more than $150 of motor fuel.  However, if you have been previously convicted of Retail Theft you may face a Class 4 Felony.

It shocks my conscience how often I see a young man or woman plead guilty without an attorney to Retail Theft.  Retail Theft is also one of the few offenses where women are charged almost equally as men.  If you are charged with Retail theft seek the advice of an attorney to review your case.

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