If you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony retail theft, you need the right strategy to win your case and avoid a criminal conviction on your record. Award-winning and nationally recognized retail theft attorney John D. Ioakimidis has been successfully defending shoplifting cases against Walmart, Sears, Kohls, Kmart, Bed and Bath, Jewel, Macy’s, Target, Best Buy and other retailers in Chicago, Cook County, Lake County and DuPage County for over 23 years. The idea is not to only win your case but to also expunge or seal it.What is Misdemeanor Retail Theft in Illinois?
Retail theft in most cases involves stealing merchandise from a store. You can also be charged with retail theft if you change, alter, or remove a price tag, or if you do something with the intent to deprive the store of the retail value of its property.
If the value of the merchandise was under $300.00, the case is charged either as 1) a misdemeanor in Circuit Court, or 2) a violation of a city ordinance in Municipal Court. Being the sole exception, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx charges pretty much all retail theft cases as misdemeanors if the value of the merchandise was under $1,000.00. If the case is in Municipal Court, it is held at City Hall of the municipality that the issued the citation for Retail Theft. If the case is in Circuit Court, the case is usually held at the nearest Courthouse to where the incident occurred. Most people use the term shoplifting instead of retail theft, but they mean the same.What is the Sentence for Misdemeanor Retail Theft?
If your case is in Circuit Court, it's considered a Class A misdemeanor if the value of the merchandise was less than $300.00. A Class A misdemeanor can carry a sentence for up to 1 year in jail and a fine up to $2,500.00. As an alternative to jail, you can be placed on Court Supervision or a Court Diversion program. Theft School is an example of a diversion program. Court supervision and diversion programs allow you to avoid a criminal conviction and to expunge your record. With a strong defense and a smart strategy, Retail Theft cases are often dismissed.
For Retail Theft cases in Municipal Court that allege a violation of a city ordinance for Retail theft, the sentence is usually a fine.Is Misdemeanor Retail Theft a Criminal or Civil Case?
In Illinois, two Court systems have the authority to decide non-felony Retail Theft cases. Cases are either in Circuit Court or Municipal Court. When a case is in Circuit Court, it's considered a criminal case. When a case is in Municipal Court, it's a civil proceeding, but the charge is considered “quasi" criminal. The rules of evidence and procedures between these two Court systems vary greatly.
Although most cases in Illinois for Retail Theft are in Circuit Court, recently many cases are being prosecuted in City Municipal Courts. When a case is in Circuit Court, the charge is for violating Illinois Retail Theft law under 720 ILCS 5/16-25. When the case is in Municipal Court, the charge is for violating a city ordinance. Municipal Court is unusually held at City Hall of the village or town that issued the violation. If you are being charged with felony retail theft, the case will be in Circuit Court, and it's considered a criminal case.
Some people mistakenly believe that if you are charged with a city ordinance, it doesn't go on their record. As a practical matter, either system can have can severe consequences on your future because both are public proceedings and the rules of expungement and sealing apply to both.
Retail theft lawyer John D. Ioakimidis has successfully defended hundreds of retail theft cases for over 23 years in Chicago, Cook County, Lake County, and DuPage County. He has helped his clients not only win or dismiss their Retail Theft cases, but to also expunge or seal their records.What is Felony Retail Theft in Illinois?
You could be charged with Class 4 Felony Retail Theft if the value of the merchandise was over $300.00, or if you have been previously convicted of a theft-related charge. Cook County is the only County that charges retail theft cases as a felony if the value of the merchandise is over $1,000.00.What is the Sentence for Felony Retail Theft?
A Class 4 felony can carry a sentence between 1 to 3 years in jail with a maximum fine of $25,000.00. As an alternative to jail, you can avoid a conviction and expunge or seal your record if you are placed on either a Diversion program or Second Chance Probation. Depending on the circumstances, a felony can also be reduced to a misdemeanor. In order to get the State to agree to a reduction or a diversion program, a carefully crafted mitigation packet is submitted to the State that includes: a letter from Retail Theft lawyer John D. Ioakimidis; letters of recommendation; awards; certificates; diplomas; school transcripts; and other documents that show that you deserve a second chance.Can you Expunge or Seal a Retail Theft Case?
Misdemeanor Retail theft cases can be expunged or sealed. Even felony retail theft cases can be expunged if you receive the right type of probation or disposition of your case. For example, Felony Deferred Prosecution and Second Chance Probation are expungable.
The consequences of a Retail Theft can be serious. With the internet, many people now can have access to your criminal history. It is common for employers not to hire people with criminal convictions, especially for cases involving stealing. Colleges may deny admission or expel a student who gets convicted of a crime. Landlords can refuse to rent to people with criminal convictions. Further, a conviction can also affect custody and visitation rights. You cannot afford to lose your Retail Theft case. The goal when facing shoplifting charges is not just to win, but rather, to conclude your case in such a way that it is erased from the public record forever.
Retail theft attorney John D. Ioakimidis has expunged hundreds of criminal charges in Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County Lake County and McHenry County for his clients. When a criminal record is expunged, it's obliterated. That means that the Illinois State Police, the Clerk of Court and the arresting police agency must destroy their files.Where are Court cases held for Retail Theft?
- For shoplifting cases in the Cook County, Court is held in Chicago, Markham, Skokie, Bridgeview, Maywood, and Rolling Meadows.
- For DuPage County cases, Court is held in Wheaton, Downers Grove, Addison, and Glendale Heights.
- For Lake County cases, Court is held in Waukegan, Mundelein, Round Lake Beach, and Park City.
- For Municipal Retail Theft cases, Court is usually held in the Village Hall of the town which the arrest occurred.
If you are not a US citizen and your retail theft case is not handled correctly, it can trigger deportation proceedings regardless of how long you have lived in the US. Shoplifting cases that involve immigrants must conclude in such a way as to not be considered an aggravated felony or a crime involving moral turpitude. Top rated attorney John D. Ioakimidis for over two decades has represented hundreds of immigrants facing criminal and shoplifting charges. He has been able to finish their cases without the fear of being deported because of his knowledge of not only criminal law, but also, of immigration law. The key when dealing with cases of non-US citizens is to avoid a conviction or a guilty plea while leaving the door open for expungement once the case concludes.John D. Ioakimidis - Award-winning Retail Theft Attorney
You can trust Retail Theft attorney John D. Ioakimidis to represent you because of his vast experience. He has been recognized as “Top 100 Criminal Defense Attorney" by the Society of America Legal Advocates; "10 Best Attorney for Client Satisfaction" by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys; Top 100 Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer" by the National Trial Lawyers Association; "Superb" by AVVO; and "Top 20 Criminal Defense Attorney" by Expertise.
When Retail Theft attorney John D. Ioakimidis appears in Court, you will be represented by a seasoned criminal defense lawyer with one goal in mind: To Win and Expunge! If you have a Retail Theft case in Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County, or Lake County, give us a call at 312-229-5500 to confidentially discuss your case for free.