Articles Posted in Theft

boris-debusscher-485536-copy-207x300Facing an arrest and charges of theft in Chicago is never an easy situation. Whether this is the first time you have been arrested or you have gone through this before, it never gets easier. You might have to face a different judge or have your case handled by a different prosecutor. Either way, there are defenses available to you to fight the theft charges so you do not simply have to give up your freedom and spend time in jail.

Right of Ownership

One of the most commonly used defenses to theft charges is right of ownership. You can not simply tell the judge that you thought the item belonged to you and hope that this will work in your favor. You will need to provide some sort of evidence that proves it makes sense that you would believe the item you took belonged to you. This can be an invoice, receipt, warranty, owner’s manual, or any other piece of evidence that proves you either own the property or that you believed you owned the property.

raban-haaijk-118657-copy-225x300It is no secret that the number of carjackings is on the rise in Chicago. Along with this increase comes an increase in juvenile arrests. Younger people are participating in this crime at alarming rates. In 2016, only 35% of carjackings were attributed to juveniles; now, it is 60%. It is important to note that this statistic could be skewed, as less than 10% of carjackings end in arrest. Still, this rise in juvenile crime is a cause for concern for many citizens. There is no shortage of debate on how this issue should be handled.

Current law tends to favor giving the juvenile a second chance. As of 2016, no minor can be tried as an adult for carjacking in Chicago. Additionally, many minors receive lesser charges, including in instances of car theft. Car theft differs from carjacking based on the threat to the driver. If you are charged with carjacking, that means you either physically harmed a driver or made the driver fear for his or her life. Because of this, a carjacking charge typically accompanies a harsher sentence. Being aware that many want this current law changed is important. The increase in crime is not helping defuse the situation, either.

How the Community Feels

a-l-117960-copy-300x198Although crime has been on the decline in Chicago as of late, carjacking is still a common occurrence throughout the city. Due to the nature of a city/urban environment, many people live in close quarters who are using vehicles for their commute, leading to the prevalence of this particular crime. Car jacking crimes can take on many different forms. For example, carjacking is nearly always more of a serious offense than car theft due to the vehicle being taken by force or intimidation, or sometimes both. Certain actions leading up to the illegal obtainment of the vehicle may qualify as an aggravating factor to your offense.

Under Illinois law, an aggravated carjacking is sentenced as a class X felony, which is a mandatory six to 30 years in prison, while a plain carjacking offense is a class 1 with a four-to-15-year minimum sentence.

Armed and Dangerous

jaanus-jagomagi-377699-unsplash-copy-200x300Burglary denotes illegal entry into a building with the intention of stealing property or money. In reality, burglary covers several possible circumstances. The recent burglary attempt in Naperville is one such instance. An 18-year-old and three other teens were involved. Charges of burglary can result in serious charges, depending on the situation.

Burglary as a Criminal Offense

Illinois law has listed several situations that constitute burglary. For instance, illegal entry can signify gaining entry under false pretenses. Normally, Class 2 felony is the sentence given for burglary. This can lead to a prison term of three to seven years, depending on the case.

boris-debusscher-485536-copy-207x300U.S. courts are facing many criminal cases that are somehow associated with robbery or theft. When these two almost identical crimes are coupled with an uninformed population, the result is a high number of convicted felons who do not know their rights based on their crimes.

While these two forms of crime may sound the same, they are different in nature. Many law enforcement units across the country report drastic reductions in cases linked to robberies and thefts, but the numbers are still high. A recent report by the Chicago Police Department shows a slight decrease in theft-related crimes over the past decade when compared to robbery incidences. This raises the question as to what is the difference between these two types of crime?

What You Should Know About Robbery Laws in Chicago

maique-madeira-256088-copy-300x200Retail theft in Chicago, Illinois is a serious topic. It should not be taken lightly because it can lead to severe penalties. However, with the help of a qualified retail theft lawyer, you can take a step forward to lessen or most likely even drop the charges against you.

What is Retail Theft?

Retail theft refers to the stealing of merchandise from a shop. Additionally, retail theft also includes the removing, altering, or changing of a price tag, label, or other such actions aimed toward robbing the retail value of the store’s property or merchandise. Under Illinois law, a retail theft is a felony or misdemeanor as per the criminal background of the defendant and the value of the items stolen. The retail theft can be expunged if some conditions are fulfilled.

chris-lawton-357168-copy-300x200For purposes of the law in Chicago, vehicular hijacking covers a range of vehicles, including boats. The key issues that arise when facing such a charge can be understood by looking at the example of a rather hapless Chicago teen who stole an SUV belonging to the FBI. There were several criminal matters arising out of that act that would all be considered during the trial.

First of all, the teenager was on probation and already had an extensive criminal record. The probation violations were dealt with as a separate issue but also one that could aggravate the crime despite the fact that the perpetrator  was a minor. His lawyers inevitably wanted to minimize evidence of his past crimes as much as allowable under the current law.

Compounding and Relevant Factors

esther-tuttle-280714-copy-300x200There are instances in which the crime of being in possession of a stolen motor vehicle is a carrier or access crime. You need a team of competent lawyers in order to avoid upgrading the charges unnecessarily. The car being the instrument for committing the crime or getting away from the crime, it is often a minor charge when compared with the principal charge of robbery or even homicide. The case of Jamie Thurnau and Jorge Chavez demonstrates the wide range of possible charges after the arrest. The actual charge sheet included the possession of a stolen car and also resisting arrest. Further charges of burglary, aggravated battery, and fleeing police were later added.

The fact that the offenders injured a law enforcement agent during the commission of the crime is an aggravating feature that will be considered by the court during the sentencing phase. A prior warrant of arrest was being executed when the pair drove off from a Walmart parking lot. The accumulation of charges brings into question the Mens Rea element of the criminal conduct. The acts of fleeing and even injuring the police may have occurred as described by the prosecutor, but it is an entirely different matter to prove that these acts were foreplanned with malice in mind. This is often the crux of the defense strategy. They may acknowledge the factual basis of the case but then dispute the motivations in order to throw doubt on the case.

Ranking Different Crimes that Occur at the Same Moment

clem-onojeghuo-173534-copy-300x205Shoplifting is classified under the theft statutes. The key provisions are contained in statutory instrument number 720 ILCS 5/16-1. It is at the lower end of the crimes of dishonesty but can still be prosecuted and lead to terms of imprisonment. Over the years, there have been many changes that were designed to reform the regime. For example, there are some new sophisticated techniques for shoplifting that may not have been covered by the original statutes in Chicago. That is why defense attorneys have to ensure that they are up to date with the latest versions of the law. This is one of the most prosecuted crimes not because of its seriousness but rather its frequency of occurrence. Shoplifting is an occupational hazard for marketplaces because there are always people who want to take things without paying for them.

Contrary to popular belief, this is not a crime that is consigned to the lower orders of society. Rather, it cuts across, and there have been instances of perfectly wealthy people who have been caught shoplifting. Sometimes, it is a case of temporary economic deprivation; other times, the defendant may be suffering from psychosocial problems such as kleptomania. It is imperative that the defense attorney explores all the possible explanations before the client is either found guilty or sentenced. The existence of a recognized condition might be a mitigating factor in such cases. It is also important to advise the client not to accept higher charges in order to avoid appearing in court because the resultant criminal record can become a hazard.

Protections for the Defendants

800px-Packaged_ElectronicsReceiving stolen property is one of the more elusive offenses on the Chicago statute books but it has been prosecuted vigorously on account of the fact that it is part of a network of criminality that must be broken from its source. The person that receives stolen property is not only benefitting from a crime but is also making it difficult for the law enforcement authorities to successfully recover the stolen property. Therefore, the criminal justice system has been harsh on defendants in these circumstances. Defense attorneys need to be wary of the prejudices that often plague these cases. The chain of custody before arriving at the final recipient can also cause unique challenges for the defense attorney.

Key Considerations as Part of the Defense Preparations

The strategy that is preferred is to focus on the other defendants so as to take the heat off the person who may not have done the robbery or theft but is indeed the final recipient of the goods or money. The problems start to mount when it is a joint enterprise or conspiracy. In such situations the defendant may have to fight off a presumption that he or she is the mastermind whereas the actual thieves are only footmen and women for the grand scheme. Needless to say defendants who the prosecution successfully labels as being criminal masterminds can expect unusually stiff penalties, even when the discretions of the sentencing guidelines are taken into consideration. Luckily for the vast majority of defense attorneys, the cases are usually on the low end. The person that engaged in the actual stealing action (particularly if it is upgraded to robbery) will bear the brunt of the court’s wrath.