Shoplifting is often a one-time mistake or may even an act of desperation. However, shoplifting is a crime in Illinois, so it is important to understand what constitutes shoplifting and what the penalties are for committing this crime.

What constitutes shoplifting in Illinois?

To shoplift means to take, possess or transfer merchandise from a store with the intention of keeping the merchandise or permanently depriving the store of the full value of the merchandise. This means that in addition to taking merchandise out of the store without paying for it, taking off or changing a price tag or putting merchandise in a different container can constitute shoplifting. Intent to deprive can be proven if there is enough evidence to prove that the accused concealed the merchandise and took it beyond the store’s cash registers.

What are the penalties for shoplifting in Illinois?

The consequences for shoplifting in Illinois are based on how much the stolen merchandise is worth. If the merchandise is under $300 it is a Class A Misdemeanor for a first-time offense. In such situations a person could face less than one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. However, if the accused reportedly used an emergency exit to shoplift, this is a Class 4 Felony.

If the merchandise is worth more than $300, it is a Class 3 Felony. In such situations a person could face two to five years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. However, if the accused reportedly used an emergency exit to shoplift, this is a Class 2 Felony and could lead to three to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

Stores will seek to prosecute shoplifters

Ultimately, shoplifting is a serious crime in Illinois, and many stores in the Chicago metro suburbs will seek to prosecute those accused of it. This post is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice, nor can it promise any specific outcome in a shoplifting case. Thus, if you are accused of shoplifting you may want to seek legal advice to better understand your rights.