One of the most common crimes that teenagers commit is retail theft, or shoplifting. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Unified Crime Report, over 100,000 Americans under the age of 18 were charged with larceny in 2016. Everyone makes mistakes - especially teenagers. That is why it is so important to understand the repercussions that can come from one, small bad decision made in the heat of the moment. Here are four things you need to know about retail theft.
It is Not Usually Premeditated
According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention (NASP), an estimated 73 percent of adults and 72 percent of juvenile shoplifters do not plan to shoplift in advance. Typically, it is a spur-of-the-moment decision. For teens, especially, peer pressure, impulses and a general lack of judgment all combine to cause unplanned thefts.
Retailers Typically Punish Shoplifters to the Full Extent of the Law
The offender is not the only one who loses when they are caught shoplifting - police and courts are busy dealing with petty thefts when they should be focusing on more important things, the costs of goods are driven up because of losses and communities lose sales tax revenue. This is why retailers have begun punishing offenders to the full extent of the law - to deter others from shoplifting.
Retail Theft in Illinois Encompasses a Variety of Actions
Though you may think of shoplifting as only occurring when you physically take something from the store without paying for it, it can happen in many other ways too. Other actions that fall under shoplifting include:
Penalties Can Vary
In Illinois, charges for shoplifting depend on the type of action that you took and the value of the merchandise that you stole. If the value of the stolen goods was less than $300, the crime is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a sentence of up to one year in jail and fines up to $2,500. If the value of the stolen goods was over $300, the crime goes up to a felony.
Are You or Your Child Facing Retail Theft Charges?
In the heat of the moment, we can make poor decisions and that is especially true for teenagers. A fun day shopping with friends can quickly turn into a peer pressure-fueled legal catastrophe. If you or your child is facing retail theft charges, a skilled Western Springs retail theft attorney can help. By getting in touch with Myers Law, LLC, you can help prevent you or your teenager from having a criminal record. To schedule a consultation, call the office at 844-984-3529.