Certain criminal charges come with potentially life-altering penalties for those convicted of these types of activities. While shoplifting is not a felony offense, it is still important for anyone in Illinois who is facing these charges to be aware of what he or she is up against. If you face charges for the crime of stealing merchandise of any kind from a retail establishment, you will need to know how to properly defend yourself.
The first step to defending yourself against these types of charges is to know what you are up against. It is helpful to not only understand the potential implications of a conviction, but also to know what you need to do to confront any evidence brought by the prosecution. Shoplifting is a type of larceny, which is essentially taking property without permission and with the intent of depriving the owner of it.
Understanding the crime of shoplifting
Shoplifting is a separate criminal offense from petty theft or burglary. While shoplifting cases can differ, most involve two primary elements. This includes evidence of the defendant taking items from a retail establishment, intended for sale, as well as an intentional act of depriving the owner of the item without paying for it. In many cases, shoplifting involves someone simply taking something from a store by hiding it or carrying it discreetly, but other actions that may fall into the category of shoplifting include:
- Manipulating the merchandise
- Altering price tags
- Separating packages in order to avoid paying full price
Anything that results in an effort to avoid paying the proper price for an item, whether it is taking the item or changing the price of an item, could result in criminal penalties. Each case is unique, but some of the consequences associated with this crime include fines, probation or even jail time.
How can you defend yourself?
The most appropriate defense for a shoplifting charge depends on the details of the individual case. As soon as possible after an arrest for shoplifting, you will benefit from an assessment of your case and explanation of the specific defense options that will be most effective for you. Even if the case against you doesn’t seem serious, you will benefit from taking your situation seriously and presenting a strong defense.