accidental theft in chicagoIf you are arrested or given a notice to appear citation for accidental retail theft please understand that you have been charged with a serious criminal offense. For purposes of immigration, a retail theft, shoplifting or theft charge is considered a crime of “moral turpitude“. If you plead guilty or are found guilty of a theft related offense, it can remain on your permanent record and cause issues with immigration matters such as renewals of visas, your green card or your citizenship application. With the economic climate being the way it is, a theft related offense on your criminal record will likely prevent employers from hiring you. Needless to say, theft related offenses can result in serious consequences to one’s life and livelihood.

The Law Office of Purav Bhatt has successfully represented hundreds of individuals charged with theft related offenses. Some of these individuals defense was that they did not intend to steal or commit theft. Often the theft that resulted was caused by accident. When an individual is charged with a theft related offense, the prosecution must establish and prove that the defendant took the items with the intent to deprive the owner of the items in order to secure a conviction. If the finder of fact, either a judge or jury, determines that your actions were in fact accidental, then you will likely be found not guilty of a theft. In cases where clients are charged with theft related offenses and the action was accidental, the prosecutors can be convinced to dismiss charges.

One of the most common causes for an accidental retail theft occurs when a mother is shopping with her children. She is managing her shopping list, unruly children who are grabbing in all directions and asking for mom to buy this and that while she is on her cellular phone. As a result, one of the children places an item into mom’s purse or mom places an item into the stroller or baby seat for a moment and forgets about it. Then she leaves the store thinking she paid for all the items in the cart and is arrested for retail theft. In a situation like this, the argument that the theft was accidental is a strong one because of the many distractions the mother was facing while in the store.

Other situations I have experienced include an individual shopping in a store and he/she receives a phone call but the reception is bad. As a result, the person takes a step outside the store to get better reception and is arrested. The Law Office of Purav Bhatt has successfully defended similar situations by arguing that our client did not have the intent to commit a theft but only to leave the store to get better reception and he/she was planning on returning to the store and paying for all items in the cart.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a theft related offense, you may have the ability to defend yourself from criminal charges and a possible conviction. Contact The Law Office of Purav Bhatt at 773-791-9682 to discuss your matter. The Law Office of Purav Bhatt defends people facing theft related offenses throughout Chicago, Skokie, Rolling Meadows, Markham, Bridgeview, Dupage and Lake Counties.

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