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IL defense lawyerEach year, inventory shrinkage due to theft or shoplifting causes the U.S. retail industry to lose over $45 billion. This is why most stores have placed an increased focus on loss prevention strategies. In the state of Illinois, retail theft is taken very seriously and comes with severe consequences. If you get caught trying to shoplift an item, the situation is not as easy to resolve as just paying for the item and going on your way. If you are caught shoplifting, you will be charged with retail theft, which can easily turn into a felony, depending on the circumstances of your case.

General Definition

When you think of retail theft, you probably think of the first definition of retail theft in the Illinois Penal Code. According to the code, a person commits retail theft when he or she takes possession of any merchandise in a retail establishment with the intention of retaining the merchandise and permanently depriving the retail establishment of the merchandise without paying for it. General retail theft is a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. While this is the most common form of retail theft, it does come in other forms.

Other Retail Theft

Contrary to what many people may believe, there is more than one form of retail theft. In Illinois, the following offenses are also punished as retail theft:

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IL defense lawyerMost crime in the United States is committed by adults -- but that does not mean that juvenile crime is uncommon. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), there were over 8 million arrests in 2017, but only an estimated 815,173 -- or 9.9 percent -- of those arrests were for people under the age of 18. Of those juvenile arrests, an overwhelming amount (769,985 or 94 percent) of them were teenagers. Law enforcement officers have reported that there is a noticeable trend in the types of crimes that teenagers commit. Here are the top crimes that teenagers have been known to commit:

Theft/Larceny: In 2017, there were 93,178 arrests to juveniles for suspicion of committed theft or larceny. In Illinois, theft is committed when a person knowingly takes control over property owned by someone else, whether that is by deception or threat of harm. It also occurs when a person obtains control over property and knows that the property is stolen. Shoplifting occurs when a person takes property from a retail establishment without paying for it. Theft/larceny charges can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the value of the stolen goods.

Vandalism: There were 28,842 juvenile arrests for vandalism in 2017. According to Illinois code, vandalism is the act of damaging, destructing, defacing or otherwise destroying property of another person. The type of vandalism that teenagers commit is typically tagging and graffiti, drawing on walls or defacing cars.

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IL defense lawyerOne of the many things that are up to states’ discretion is the issuance and control of driver’s licenses. The age at which you can apply for your learner’s permit and then your driver’s license is different in each state. In some states, you get receive your learner’s permit at the age of 14 while in other states you must be at least 16. In Illinois, you must be 15 years old to apply for a learner’s permit and 16 to apply for a junior license. You must also meet certain requirements for training and experience before you will be granted either the learner’s permit or the license. Young people tend to make poor decisions sometimes, which is why they are subject to a few laws that are more strict than adult laws. Violations of traffic laws can lead to unfavorable consequences.

Underage Driving Laws

Court Supervision and Moving Violations: Drivers under the age of 21 are limited to one sentence of court supervision for serious traffic offenses. Drivers under the age of 21 are only eligible for court supervision if they attend traffic safety school, while drivers under the age of 18 must appear in court with a parent in addition to attending traffic safety school.

Moving Violations and Loss of Driving Privileges: Drivers under the age of 21 who are convicted of two or more moving violations within a 24-month period will have their driver’s license suspended for at least 30 days. Remedial education courses may be part of the requirement to get their driver’s license reinstated.

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