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Types of Shoplifting and Corresponding Punishment

 Posted on March 10, 2016 in Criminal defense lawyer

shoplifting, Lake County criminal defense attorneyShoplifting is one of the most common crimes in the country, but it can have effects that are far-reaching to businesses, lawmakers, and to society as a whole. The crime is so common, in fact, that there is a National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, working to both reduce the number of shoplifting incidents in the United States and to discourage would-be shoplifters from committing such crimes. More than 10 million individuals have been arrested or accused of shoplifting in the last half decade, and current estimates suggest that 1 in every 11 people in the United States have shoplifted at one time or another.

Common Misconceptions

Because it is frequently a minor misdemeanor crime, shoplifting is often considered alongside crimes committed by juveniles, which are often offenses that do not, and cannot, affect one’s permanent record. Yet, the effects of shoplifting do, in fact, stay on a person’s record for a long time and can effect a person’s ability to find work—perpetuating an ugly cycle that, in many instances, led to the incident in the first place.

Other Related Offenses

Shoplifting is not only limited to actually stealing something from a retail store. There are several types of crimes that amount to shoplifting, including but not limited to:

  • Switching price tags on store items;
  • Changing the containers of merchandise to affect the price;
  • Tampering with clothing labels;
  • Making false returns (by falsifying receipts or other proofs of purchase); and
  • Tampering with anti-theft devices on items in a store.

In Illinois, the value of the merchandise in question directly affects the punishment for the crime. If a person is convicted of shoplifting items worth $300 or less, the crime is considered a Class A misdemeanor, with a punishment of fines up to $2,500 and up to one year of prison time. If the same crime is committed but the perpetrator unlawfully uses an emergency exit to leave the store, the crime is considered a felony and fines increase tenfold up to $25,000, with a 1–3 year possibility of prison time. The latter is the same punishment considered for a convicted shoplifter with a prior record.

If you or someone you know has been accused of shoplifting or any other type of retail theft, the most important step is to seek legal counsel. Contact an experienced Lake County criminal defense attorney today. We will help you understand your available options and will work with you in protecting your rights and your future.





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