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Retail Theft

Chicago Retail Theft Lawyer-Defending Retail Theft Cases

Retail Theft lawyer, James Dimeas, has been handling Retail Theft cases throughout Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, and Lake County for over-29 years.  James Dimeas is a nationally-recognized, award-winning Retail Theft attorney who has extensive experience handling Retail Theft cases involving every major retailer and store.

The typical Retail Theft case is what is commonly known as Shoplifting. Retail Theft is  basically walking past the cash register, or walking out of a store, without paying for merchandise. If you walk past the last place of purchase, which is usually the cash register, without paying for something, you are considered to be committing the Illinois crime of Retail Theft. You can also be charged with a Retail Theft if you change the price tags on an item or it you intentionally failed to scan something at a self-checkout counter, something that is becoming increasingly common with stores installing more and more self-checkout machines. Most people think that if they are stopped by store security and they just apologize and pay for the item then nothing will happen. Or, if the police are called to the store and they are nice to the police and apologize for what they did that nothing will happen to them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Walking out of the store, or past a cash register, without paying for something is a very serious crime in Illinois. You can be arrested and charged with a crime that could carry a potential jail sentence. Any statements you make to the store security or to the police can be used against you in court.  

You need the assistance of an experienced Retail Theft lawyer who understands how to handle Retail Theft and Shoplifting cases to make sure that your record stays clean. Before doing anything, such as communicating with anyone, you need to talk to an experienced Retail Theft lawyer, like James Dimeas, that knows what they are doing. Chicago Retail Theft attorney, James Dimeas, has been handling Retail Theft cases throughout Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, and Lake County for over-27 years.

Highly Experienced Retail Theft Lawyer

James Dimeas has spent over-29 years representing people charged with Retail Theft. James Dimeas has seen virtually every type of Retail Theft case possible. James Dimeas has been exposed to the surveillance and investigative techniques of all of the major retailers and understands how store security investigates Retail Theft cases and how they compile and store their evidence. James Dimeas has extensive experience with Retail Theft and  Shoplifting cases which makes it possible for him to challenge Retail Theft cases in a unique and complex manner.  James Dimeas the type of experience with Retail Theft cases that gives him an understanding of Retail Theft cases that only experience can give an attorney.  James Dimeas will use his understanding and experience with Retail Theft cases to expose weaknesses in the state’s case and make sure that a Retail Theft case does not stay on your record and follow you around the rest of your life. Passing a background check is absolutely critical in today's tight and competitive job market. Any potential employer who sees a Retail Theft charge on a background search would probably be unwilling to hire you.

What is Considered a Retail Theft in Illinois?

The criminal Retail Theft Illinois statute can be found at 720 ILCS 6/16-25. The most obvious way that you can be guilty of a Retail Theft in Illinois is by walking past the cash register, or out of a store, with something without paying for it. But sometimes it's not that simple. There are other things you can do that could make you guilty of a Retail Theft in Illinois.

  • If you alter the price tag of an item you can be guilty of a Retail Theft even if you paid for the item.  This includes altering the bar-code of an item so that the effect is that the price of the item changes.

  • Using a device, or a substance, that jams the security alarm of an establishment or an item.  An example is to put items into a bag that is lined with some substance that jams, or defeats the security at the exit.

  • Not returning an item that has been leased within 10 days after receiving written notice demanding return of the item. This type of Retail Theft charge is less common but it does happen.

  • Failing to scan an item at a self-checkout register which results in you not paying the full price for all the items that you walked out of the store with.

  • Making a fake return of an item. This happens when you return an item that did not belong to you.

The Retail Theft laws in Illinois are written in such a way that they benefit the stores and make it easier for prosecutors to win Retail Theft cases in Court. If you walk out of the store with something without paying for it the law presumes that you intended to steal that item and tried to shoplift. It's not a defense to say that you forgot to pay for the item or that you forgot to take off the item of clothing after you tried it on, or forgot to remove the ring when you tried it on at the jewelry counter. That's why you should not make any statements to store security, or to the police, without talking to an experienced Retail Theft lawyer, like James Dimeas, who understands the complexities of the Retail Theft laws in Illinois. What a typical shopper may consider to be an honest mistake may be considered to be guilt of a Retail Theft under Illinois Law. That's why it is critical that you retain an experienced Retail Theft attorney, like James Dimeas, who understands the law and understands what needs to get done for you to avoid having a criminal conviction on your record for a Retail Theft, which will probably come up in a background search when you apply for a new job or a promotion at your current job.

Criminal Penalties for Retail Theft in Illinois

Generally, the penalties for Retail Theft depend on the value of the items that were stolen, or that you tried to steal.  If the value of the item was $300 or less, you will probably be facing a Class A Misdemeanor which carries a maximum penalty of one-year in jail and a fine up to $2,500. If the value of the merchandise was more than $300 you can be charged with a Class 4 felony which carries a possible prison sentence of between 1 to 3 years. However, an experienced Retail Theft lawyer, like James Dimeas, can use their knowledge of the law and experience with Retail Theft cases, to obtain a result that allows you to keep this case off your record. It is critical that you hire an experienced and aggressive Retail Theft attorney that will keep this case off of your record.

In addition to possible criminal charges, you may be issued a Municipal Ordinance Violation for a Retail Theft if you are caught Shoplifting.  Every Town and Village has a Municipal Code and Municipal Court system that can impose civil penalties for Shoplifting offenses.  While you will not be facing a criminal penalty for a Municipal Ordinance Violation, you could be facing a hefty fine and the case might appear in a background search if you are looking for a job or try to rent an apartment. It is important that you consult with an experienced Retail Theft lawyer before paying the ticket and risk having the case appear in a background search.

The Civil Penalty for Retail Theft

In addition to a criminal penalty, you may also have a Civil Penalty imposed. Under Illinois Law if you try to shoplift something from a retail establishment, a store, they have the right to sue you for civil damages, or money damages, in civil court. The maximum amount they can sue you for is $1,000. After you are arrested for a Retail Theft you will probably receive a letter in the mail from a lawyer representing the store requesting an amount up to $1,000 in money damages from you. This claim for money is separate from the criminal case and will not affect the criminal case. You cannot go to jail for not paying the Civil Penalty. If you do not pay the store's lawyer the Civil Penalty, the store will turn over the claim to a collection agency and they will put this on your credit report and they will try to collect this debt. You will also need an attorney to handle the claim for civil damages as well.

The Final Penalty: Your Reputation. Your Record. Your Future

Perhaps the most serious penalty you are facing is your reputation. A Retail Theft conviction on your background could make it virtually impossible to get a job. Almost every employer today does a thorough background search before they hire an employee. Most employers will not even consider hiring someone who has a Retail Theft case on their background. Some employers conduct periodic background searches on current employees. This potential penalty can be more severe than any criminal or civil penalty that you could be facing. You need to hire a experienced Retail Theft lawyer that understands what a Retail Theft case could mean for your future and an attorney who understands how important it is to make sure that this Retail Theft case does not go on your record and does not follow you around the rest of your life. Making sure you can pass a background search is critical to your future.

James Dimeas Will Handle Your Retail Theft Shoplifting Case Correctly and Keep It Off Your Record

James Dimeas has spent over-29 years representing people charged with Retail Theft in State Courts and Municipal Courts throughout Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, and Lake County. James Dimeas understands the importance of protecting your reputation and keeping your criminal record clean. James Dimeas understands that your entire future could be riding on the outcome of your Retail Theft Shoplifting case.  James Dimeas will examine all of the police reports and the store security reports. He will review the surveillance tapes and witness statements and examine in detail the arrest procedures to come up with an effective strategy that will either result in the dismissal of the Shoplifting charges or a result that will avoid a conviction on your criminal record. James Dimeas will work tirelessly to make sure that a shoplifting case does not appear on a background search.

James Dimeas is a nationally-recognized, award-winning, Retail Theft lawyer with over-29 years of experience handling Retail Theft cases. Attorney and Practice Magazine gave James Dimeas the "Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorney Award for Illinois," and the "Top 10 DUI Defense Attorney" award. The National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys gave James Dimeas the "Top 10 Attorney Award for the State of Illinois," Recently, the American Society of Legal Advocates named James Dimeas a "Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer In the State of Illinois For the Year 2018, 2019, and 2020." Expertise named James Dimeas a "Best Criminal Defense Lawyer in Chicago." James Dimeas was named a "Best DUI Attorney." The American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys recognized James Dimeas as a "10 Best Attorney for Client Satisfaction." The National Trial Lawyers named James Dimeas a "Top 100 Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer." AVVO rates James Dimeas as "Superb," 10 out of 10, the highest rating possible for any Retail Theft attorney in the United States.

You can contact Retail Theft attorney, James Dimeas, anytime for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your Retail Theft case. James Dimeas will evaluate your case and give you advice about how to avoid a conviction on your record. You can talk to James Dimeas personally by calling 847-807-7405 24 hours a day for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case and to help you with your Retail Theft case.
Client Reviews
I got into an argument with my ex-boyfriend. One thing led to another and when he came close to me I pushed him away. He called the police and when I spoke to the police I told them that I pushed him without realizing that you don't have to hit someone to be charged with a Domestic Battery. Being arrested was terrifying. I spoke to several attorneys who promised they would win the case and were charging a ridiculous amount of money. A friend referred me to James Dimeas. He was straightforward and honest with me and charged me a very reasonable and affordable fee. He got me into the Kane County Deferred Prosecution Program. I successfully completed the program and I just received paperwork in the mail that the case has been expunged and completely removed from my record. I highly recommend Jim Dimeas. He is an honest and straightforward lawyer that will look out for your best interests. E.A.
Had a DUI and hired a lawyer who lived in my building that I knew for years and trusted. Thought he was my friend. Paid him (more than I should have) and he handled my case for almost a year and totally screwed it up. I fired him and found out that he had given up his law license around the time I hired him. A friend recommended James to me and he took over my case and handled it the way it should have been handled from the beginning. I cannot stress how HIGHLY I recommend James Dimeas. I wish I would have hired him from day one. He answered all my calls and text messages and cleaned up a royal mess that had been created by the previous guy that I thought was a lawyer. I consider James to be a friend and recommend him to all of my friends. What a great lawyer and an even better guy! J.P.
I had been accused of doing something, by my then wife, that I did not do. I was 100% innocent and was at the lowest point in my life. My mother told me to call James Dimeas. Her friend recommended him to her. James fought for me in court and refused to back down, even when the prosecution offered to lower the charges and make me plead guilty. I refused to plead guilty to something I did not do. The case went to trial and James won my case. I was found not guilty because I was NOT GUILTY. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND JAMES DIMEAS! Not only is he a great lawyer, but he is also a great human being. The truth shall set you free! C.D.
James Dimeas is a great lawyer who knows what he is doing and will guide you through every step of the process. He will go above and beyond what he needs to do to help you out. Sometimes I would text him in the evening or the weekend with a question and he would always respond. Really made me feel like he cared about me. When we went to court he tore apart the girl that was making false allegations against me and he won my case. That was one of the greatest day of my life. If you need legal help, the only lawyer should call is James Dimeas. Highly recommended! E.L.
I am so lucky to have stumbled upon this great attorney. I made a really stupid mistake at the worst time. I needed to get a case dismissed within 2 or 3 weeks so I could join the military. I could not leave for Basic Training until the case was dismissed and Jim made some calls and got the case dismissed. What a great guy. I’m so lucky I found him online and called him! Somebody was looking out for me. J.S.