Chicago Petty Theft Defense Attorney
According to the National Association of Shoplifting Prevention (NASP), over 10 million people have been found guilty of shoplifting – also known as petty theft – in the last five years. Not everyone who commits petty theft is caught, but those who are apprehended are subjected to harsh penalties, including heavy fines and years spent behind bars. If you have been charged with petty theft, you will need the help of a skilled Chicago petty theft lawyer to avoid the crippling consequences of a conviction.
People accused of petty theft are often the victims of mistaken identity. You may have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and gotten accused based on circumstance. Alternatively, you may have stolen items by mistake. You may have placed an item in your bag and simply forgotten to pay when you left a store. Chicago petty theft lawyer Michael O’Meara at O’Meara Law is dedicated to listening to your side of the story and bringing your case to a positive resolution.
Call us today at 312-909-0706 for your free and confidential consultation.
Understanding the Crime of Petty Theft
Misdemeanor theft, often referred to as “petty theft” involves intentionally taking another person’s property with the intent of depriving the owner of the benefit of that property. Petty theft includes property with a value not exceeding $500.
Examples of petty theft include:
- Not paying for an item in a store
- Exchanging an item’s tag with another to pay less at the cash register
- Using deception to steal another person’s property
- Threatening someone and then taking their property
- Purchasing or obtaining an item that was known to be obtained illegally
Consequences of a Petty Theft Conviction
In Illinois, petty theft is classified as a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and up to $2,500 in fines. In addition to fines and jail time, a conviction for petty theft can also carry probation and restitution to the victim.
If you are convicted of a crime, your troubles do not end when you are released from jail. Having a criminal record makes it difficult to function in everyday life. Finding a job, for example, might be nearly impossible when employers learn about your criminal history. It might also be difficult to go back to school, as most colleges screen applicants for criminal acts. Obtaining educational financing can also be a challenge, as most scholarships will be off-limits. Finally, if you are an immigrant, you may face deportation.
How Michael O’MearaCcan Defend your Rights
With the help of a skilled Chicago criminal defense attorney, you may get your charges reduced or eliminated in court. It might be the case, for example, that you were misidentified as the perpetrator. Eyewitness testimony is notorious for being inaccurate, having led to countless false accusations. Or, perhaps there is evidence that you committed the crime by accident. Few people can say that they have never accidentally walked out a store with an item in their shopping cart. Proving that you made an honest mistake without intent might absolve you of the crime.
If you have been accused of this crime, it may feel as if you are being unnecessarily punished for a simple mistake. At O’Meara Law, we know that a criminal charge can turn your life upside down. We will work tirelessly to protect your interests, from gathering evidence and making motions at the pretrial stage to providing your case with zealous advocacy at trial.
Call 312-909-0706 now to find out more about how Michael O’Meara can defend you against your petty theft charges.