The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola


47 DuPage Court, Elgin, IL 60120


Posted on in Theft

Kane County retail theft defense attorneyThe offense of shoplifting, or retail theft as it is also known, is often viewed by many as a minor crime, but it is taken seriously by retailers and law enforcement. If you are caught shoplifting in Illinois, you are facing some of the strictest penalties in the nation. The definition of shoplifting is broader than you may think, encompassing many forms of deceiving retail stores and their workers.

Types of Shoplifting and Penalties in Illinois

Shoplifting is not just hiding merchandise under your shirt or in your pocket and leaving the store without paying. There are many actions that could result in you facing misdemeanor or even felony charges.

Under Illinois law, the following actions constitute shoplifting or retail theft:

  • Leaving a store with merchandise without paying for it.
  • Concealing merchandise within other merchandise to hide it from the cashier and sneak it out of the store
  • Dishonestly claiming to own merchandise or claiming to have already paid for the merchandise
  • Changing the displayed price or price tag on an item to make it appear to cost less
  • Changing the merchandise label on an item to make it appear that it is a less expensive item
  • Ringing up an item at a register for less than the actual price. While this has traditionally been used by cashiers as a way to benefit themselves or others, it is becoming more common with general shoppers with the popularization of self-checkout registers.
  • Taking a shopping cart from store property and not returning it
  • Keeping a leased item past the term of the lease and not returning it or paying full price for it
  • Using or possessing a tool to remove theft-detection devices
  • Using or possessing a laminated bag, coated bag, or other devices to shield merchandise from a store’s theft sensors

If the total value of the amount that was shoplifted is under $300, you will typically be facing a Class A misdemeanor. However, you may face more serious charges, up to a Class 3 felony if you have previous shoplifting convictions, used an emergency exit while entering or fleeing the store, or took more than $150 in gasoline without paying. If the total value of the merchandise is over $300, which is easier to do than you may think, you will also be facing Class 3 felony charges.

Contact an Elgin Retail Theft Defense Lawyer

Many cases of suspected shoplifting turn out to be innocent mistakes or overzealous security guards. At The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola, we know how to fight for you if you have been arrested for shoplifting. Our Kane County shoplifting defense attorney will fully investigate the case and work to have the charges reduced or dropped. Call our office for a free consultation at 847-488-0889.



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Aurora Criminal Defense LawyerVideo games and television make theft of an automobile seem like an inconsequential act. In reality, being accused of stealing a car can change your entire life. Penalties are severe and may include significant jail time. In Illinois, merely being in possession of stolen goods can lead to theft charges. Some people accused of stealing a vehicle thought that they bought the vehicle legally. When they find out that the vehicle was stolen, they are shocked.

If you or a loved one have been charged with motor vehicle theft, contact a criminal defense lawyer right away. Your attorney can start gathering evidence to aid in your defense.

You May Be Facing Felony Charges Punishable By Up To 7 Years’ Incarceration

The consequences of a theft conviction depend on the value of the item that was allegedly stolen. Stealing a candy bar from a store is obviously not considered as serious as stealing a vehicle worth thousands of dollars. In Illinois, theft of a motor vehicle or possession of a stolen motor vehicle is punishable by 3-7 years in prison. Being in possession of a stolen vehicle valued at more than $10,000.00 can lead to felony charges.

What Should I Do If I Am Arrested for Possessing a Stolen Vehicle?

If you or a loved one were arrested for having a stolen car, the first step is to contact a qualified attorney. Do not speak to the police or answer any of their questions. Criminal defendants have the right to remain silent and staying silent is often the best thing you can do to increase your chances of dismissal or acquittal. When a defendant submits to police interrogations, he or she may say something that is later used against him or her.

Theft of a motor vehicle is an intentional act. The prosecution must prove that not only did you possess the stolen vehicle, but they must also prove that you knew or should have known that the vehicle was stolen. An experienced lawyer can help you build a strong defense against the charges and find weaknesses in the prosecution’s case against you.

Contact an Elgin Theft Defense Lawyer

Possessing a stolen vehicle can lead to felony criminal charges in Illinois. If you are facing theft charges, contact Aurora criminal defense lawyer Brian J. Mirandola. Mr. Mirandola represents clients throughout Kane County and the Chicago region. Call 847-488-0889 for a free consultation.



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Kane County Retail Theft Defense AttorneyGrocery stores and retail chains across the United States are relying on self-checkout kiosks more and more. Self-scanning checkouts can reduce costs and speed up the checkout lines. However, they also offer additional opportunities for theft. One study showed that $850,000 of goods were stolen from self-checkouts over the course of 1 million transactions.

If you or a loved one were charged with retail theft after using a self-checkout, contact a criminal defense lawyer for help. Shoplifting may seem like a petty offense; however, it can lead to significant criminal penalties and even jail time.

Misusing the Self-Checkout Can Have Serious Consequences

Self-scanning kiosks are becoming increasingly popular. At a self-checkout, the customer is responsible for scanning the items in his cart, bagging the items, and paying the total. However, self-checkouts are not always used correctly. Some customers intentionally or unknowingly miss items while scanning. Others switch price tags on items to avoid paying full price. Another common tactic is to ring up an expensive item as a lower-priced item. This so-called “banana trick” is possible when the price of the item is determined by the item’s weight. Actions like these may seem harmless. Many people accused of self-checkout tricks like these do not even realize that the actions are technically shoplifting. It is only when the police show up with handcuffs that they realize how serious the situation really is.

Illinois Shoplifting Laws and Penalties

Being accused of theft is an embarrassing, upsetting experience. If you or a loved one were accused of retail theft, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help. In Illinois, theft of items valued at less than $500 is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500. However, if the offender has previously been convicted of theft, the offense may be considered a felony even if the value of the goods is under the $500 threshold. Theft of items valued at greater than $300 is a felony punishable by several years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.

Contact an Elgin Shoplifting Defense Lawyer for Help

Skipping a few items at the self-checkout may seem like a “victimless crime.” However, doing so can lead to criminal charges and irreparable harm to your personal and professional reputation. If you were charged with retail theft, contact the The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola for legal help. Kane County criminal defense attorney Brian J. Mirandola can help you defend yourself against the charges and ensure your rights are protected during any criminal proceedings. Call 847-488-0889 for a free, confidential case assessment.



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elgin defense lawyerWith prices going up and wages stagnant, retail theft is becoming a more common occurrence in Illinois. Getting arrested for retail theft is a serious matter that can carry heavy consequences, like fines, jail time and a permanent criminal record. If the price of the stolen goods exceeds $300, you could even be charged with a felony. 

Steps to Take If You Are Facing a Retail Theft Charge

Facing a retail theft charge can certainly be a frightening experience. However, what you do after the fact can have a major impact on the outcome of your case. Here are a few steps to take if you are charged with this crime.

  • Do not run away from store security. When you are about to be detained by store security for shoplifting, you may feel nervous and scared. However, that does not mean you should try to flee the scene. Doing so can make you look guilty and further complicate your case. To avoid more issues, comply with security.

  • Say as little as possible to the police. After the police detain you for retail theft, they may try to ask you questions about what happened. The officers may even lead you to believe that they will go easier on you if you admit guilt. Do not discuss the details of your case with police because they are not there to help you. Tell them that you do not want to talk about your case without a lawyer present. 

  • Consult a criminal lawyer. Shoplifting is considered a serious offense, so you should not attempt to represent yourself. It is in your best interest to hire a skilled Illinois criminal attorney. This attorney will defend you to the best of his or her ability and prepare you for court proceedings. He or she will also ensure that your rights are protected and that you do not say or do anything that will harm your case. 

  • Avoid further arrests. When you are already dealing with a retail theft charge, the last thing you want to do is get arrested again. If you get charged with another crime, it can lead to harsher consequences.

Contact an Elgin, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with retail theft, you should get in touch with a Kane County criminal lawyer. At the Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola, we will fully assess your case and come up with the best defense. Call us at 847-488-0889 to schedule a free consultation.


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Elgin IL criminal defense attorneyWhile stealing a car or other vehicle that belongs to someone else is a crime, there are a variety of other offenses that may be considered motor vehicle theft. Depending on the nature of a specific offense and the value of a vehicle that was allegedly stolen, a person could be charged with a misdemeanor or felony. People in Illinois who are facing these types of charges will want to understand how the law applies to their situation, and by working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer, they can determine their best options for achieving a positive outcome to their case.

Different Types of Motor Vehicle Theft Charges

Motor vehicle theft may involve any situation in which a person possesses a vehicle owned by someone else when they are not entitled to do so. These charges may apply if a person takes, conceals, or sells another person’s vehicle or if a person receives or transfers ownership of a vehicle that they know to be stolen. Theft of a vehicle’s “essential parts,” including its frame, doors, engine, seats, or radio, may be treated similarly to the theft of a vehicle as a whole.

Motor vehicle theft is a Class 2 felony, and a conviction can result in a prison sentence of up to seven years. Aggravated motor vehicle theft charges may apply in cases involving the alleged theft of three or more vehicles or their essential parts, or when the value of an allegedly stolen vehicle is at least $25,000. Aggravated motor vehicle theft is a Class 1 felony, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.

Other charges related to vehicle theft may apply in certain situations. Criminal trespass to vehicles, also known as joyriding, involves entering and operating a vehicle without the owner’s permission. Joyriding is a Class A misdemeanor, which can result in a one-year prison sentence. Vehicular hijacking (carjacking) charges may apply if a person allegedly took possession of a vehicle by force or the threat of injury. Vehicular hijacking is a Class 1 felony. Charges may be elevated to aggravated vehicular hijacking if a vehicle was allegedly taken from someone over the age of 60, if a passenger under the age of 16 was in the vehicle, or if a person was allegedly carrying a firearm or another deadly weapon. Aggravated vehicular hijacking is a Class X felony, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 30 years, and in cases involving deadly weapons, additional time may be added to a sentence.

Contact Our Kane County Vehicle Theft Defense Attorney

If you have been accused of motor vehicle theft or any related charges, you will want to secure representation from an attorney who can help you build an effective defense strategy. At the Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola, we can advise you of your best options, and we will work to help you avoid a conviction or avoid serious charges whenever possible. Contact our Aurora criminal defense lawyer at 847-488-0889 to schedule a complimentary consultation.



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