I represent many clients who have been charged with theft. Whether this theft was a one-time act or whether the theft occurred over the course of time, the value of what was taken will determine the possible penalties for theft and sentences one may receive.
Class A Misdemeanor
Whether the value of the items taken was $1 or $499 you will be charged the same. Any penalties for theft under 720 ILCS 5/16-1 that is valued less than $500 is a Class A misdemeanor and punishable by up to 1 year in jail. This amount was recently raised from $150 to $500 because of the rising cost of items in retail stores. For a time, many of my clients, generally good people, were being charged with felony charges for taking a single item such as an mp3 player. The courts were filled with first time offenders who were being charged with felony offenses because of the amount and have no idea about the penalties for theft that await them. Thankfully, the state legislature realized this problem and raised the amount necessary for felony charges.
As mentioned above, any theft where the value is above $500 is considered a felony offense. What level of felony you are charged with will be determined by the value of the items. I’ve had a few clients that were employees and have taken funds over time. The amounts were small, but over the course of months and years these amounts add up to thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars. As a result of these small amounts taken, these individuals face class 1 and class 2 felonies. Sometimes, these felonies are non-probationable and prison sentences are mandatory according to law. This can be a scary proposition for a first time offender and great efforts have to be taken to protect these clients from going to prison.
If the value of what was taken is over $500 but under $10,000 you will be charged with a class 3 felony. A class 3 felony carries a 2-5 year possible prison sentence. If the value of what was taken exceeds $1,000,000 you will be charged with a class X felony. A class X felony is a non-probationable felony and the offender must serve a sentence of between 6-30 years if convicted.
As a result of the serious nature of the possible penalties for theft of misdemeanor and felony convictions, it is important that you have an experienced theft lawyer on your side to guide and counsel you through your criminal case. Theft attorney Purav Bhatt has handled thousands of theft related crimes in Chicago and Illinois. Call for a free consultation at 773-791-9682 or contact us here for a free consultation.