In plain English, the crime of theft occurs when a person engages in conduct that results in the intentional and unauthorized taking of the property of another. There are different levels of theft under Illinois law, and the offense of which a person is accused depends on a number of factors, including the value of the property allegedly taken, whether or not it was taken “from the person,” the type of property taken, and the place where the offense allegedly occurred. While words like “petty” or “misdemeanor” may make a particular offense seem relatively minor, in reality all crimes have the potential to result in serious consequences. As a result, anyone accused of theft should discuss their options with an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney.

The Illinois Theft Statute

The Illinois statute1 regarding theft defines it as knowingly:

  • Obtaining or exerting control over the property of another
  • Obtaining control over the property of another through deception
  • Obtaining control over the property of another by threat
  • Obtaining control over property knowing the property to have been stolen or under such circumstances that would reasonably cause the person obtaining the property to believe that it was stolen
  • Obtains or exerts control over property provided law enforcement or an individual acting on behalf of law enforcement that has been represented to be stolen or obtained under such means as to reasonably induce the person receiving the property to believe that it was stolen

Under Illinois law, Class A misdemeanor theft, commonly known as “petty theft,” involves the theft of property not from the person and not valued at more than $500. It is punishable by up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. In addition, a court may order probation, impact time, periodic imprisonment, or restitution for a person convicted of petty theft. Illinois law also treats certain instances of retail theft2 as a Class A misdemeanor. Retail theft will be discussed further in an upcoming blog.

Contact a Chicago criminal defense attorney today to schedule a free consultation

Chicago attorney Nenye Uche is a dedicated Chicago theft defense lawyer who works hard to protect his clients’ rights. To schedule a free consultation with Mr. Uche, call our office today at (888) 251-4428.



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