Theft

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The theft laws in Illinois are found at 720 ILCS 5/16 and punishes all the theft laws from simple theft to theft over a million dollars, theft by deception, larceny, theft of services, identity theft, retail theft, and embezzlement. Regardless of the specific allegation, all Illinois theft laws prohibit knowing behavior. To be found guilty of a theft crime under 720 ILCS 5/16-1 the prosecution must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly:

1)         Obtains or exerts unauthorized control over property of the owner; or

2)         Obtains by deception control over property of the owner; or

3)         Obtains by threat control over property of the owner; or

4)         Obtains control over stolen property knowing the property to have been stolen or under such circumstances as would reasonably induce him or her to believe that the property was stolen; or

5)         Obtains by threat control over property in custody of law enforcement with the intent to permanently deprive the owner permanently of the benefit of the property, or knowingly uses, conceals, or abandons the property with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the benefit of the property or knowing that such result would occur.

Other sections of the Illinois theft statute prohibit more specific theft crimes. For example, 720 ILCS 5/16-2 prohibits theft of lost or mislaid property; Section 5/16-3 prohibits theft of labor or services; Section 5/16-5 prohibits theft from coin-operated machine; Section 5/16-6 makes illegal possession of theft-related devices; Section 5/16-14 prohibits theft of utility services; Section 5/16-17 makes illegal the theft of advertising services; 720 ILCS 5/16-3 regulates identity theft and aggravated identity theft; and Sec. 16-40 prohibits theft related to the Internet.

The sentence for theft in Illinois varies greatly based upon the dollar amount of the property stolen and whether the theft occurred from the victim or whether the theft was not from the person. For example, a pickpocket who steals a wallet from the victim’s pocket is punished more severely than a person who steals a wallet from a restaurant table. Of course, the amount of money contained in the wallet is a huge factor in the potential sentence available if convicted of theft. In Illinois, a sentence for theft can be as low as a Class A misdemeanor all the way up to a Class X offense.

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Chicago Theft Attorney

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