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I was charged with Class A misdemeanor for retail theft of $160. How I obtain enrollment into a Diversion Program?

Woodstock, IL |

Do I have have to go to court? This is my first crime except for minor traffic violations, and traffic school with a 6 month supervision. What should I do?

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Attorney answers 3

Posted

I do not see a way you can avoid court for a Class A misdemeanor for retail theft. Not that you are likely to be sentenced to the maximum, but a Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to $2,500.00 in fines and up to 1 year in jail. The Illinois retail theft statute is 720 ILCS 5/16A-3(a) and you can read the law here: http://tinyurl.com/ILRetailTheft

I agree with the other attorneys you should consult a McHenry County area attorney (I am one BTW and would be happy to give you a free consultation). If you were detained at a retail store, you may have been a bit overwhelmed by what was happening.

If you were arrested by a Village Police Officer and charged with a local ordinance violation or retail theft, as has been stated, you may not be able to explore a diversion program. Instead of wondering, why not be proactive? Look your citation (ticket) up on the McHenry County Public Case database which can be found here: http://68.21.116.46/wow65/runApp?id=0

This will tell you who has brought the case, when your next court date is, etc. If you see say a Village of Cary or Village of Crystal Lake as the moving party, chances are you are being accused of an ordinance violation. That being said, you still should consider talking to an attorney who might be able to negotiate a better resolution and explore any alternatives that might exist.

Also, you should be aware that in Illinois, retailers who have suffered a retail theft can sue the person arrested and demand monetary compensation. Under the Illinois law, retailers can seek damages in the form of payment for 1) actual damages equal to the full retail value of the item(s) taken, 2) a penalty not less than $100 and not more than $1000 and 3) attorney’s fees and court costs. This is secondary and not apart of any criminal issues. If the retailer wishes to pursue you for a civil demand, you will usually get a letter to that effect.

I suggest you talk to an attorney and explore your options. Best of luck with your case.

This answer is marginal legal advice and does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Every client and case is unique. The best advice is to always consult with an attorney. Free legal resources at www.ZippToCourt.com

Asker

Posted

Thank you for all of your help! Well I looked it up and I found under where it states, "Charge Type" it says "State-Actual-Original." And under where it says, "Parties on the Case," it says "Mchenry County States Attorney." Does that mean that I'm being sued by the State of IL? Or the city of Woodstock?

David Alan Zipp

David Alan Zipp

Posted

Without seeing your ticket or looking up the information myself, I would say that based upon what you have reported, that this is not a village case, but a McHenry County State's Attorney case. This is good news for you as there may be diversion programs that can be explored. At this time I would recommend you contact an attorney and discuss the case with them directly. I would be honored to give you a free consultation is you would like, and I routinely practice in McHenry County.

Asker

Posted

Thank you! Is there a number where I could reach you? And what time is best?

Asker

Posted

Or do you have a fax number? I could send you a copy of my ticket if necessary.

David Alan Zipp

David Alan Zipp

Posted

My number is 847-980-3610 cell and my fax is 847-201-2574. All my info is on my website at www.ZippToCourt.com I look forward to helping you.

Posted

Yes, you have to go to court. The answer to the remainder of your question depends upon whether you were charged by the State of Illinois or a municipality. If the State of Illinois is the Plaintiff, then you might qualify for a diversion program. If the Plaintiff is a municipality, you do not qualify because you were charged with an ordinance violation and not a jaliable offense. You should seek the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney who is also familiar with civil demands which go hand in hand with retail theft cases.

Asker

Posted

Its a charge from the state of Illinois. Do I need to hire a lawyer ahead of time? Or may I use the lawyer appointed to my case from the court during my trial?

Asker

Posted

Might I serve jail time? This is my first offense. I don't know what to do.

Judy A. Goldstein

Judy A. Goldstein

Posted

You are not likely to serve jail time but you most definitely would benefit from legal representation. Hire an attorney.

Asker

Posted

What about using the attorney provided to my case by the court? Is that okay too?

Judy A. Goldstein

Judy A. Goldstein

Posted

If you are able to do that, yes. I would call in advance and check if that's possible..

Asker

Posted

Thank you for all of your help!

Judy A. Goldstein

Judy A. Goldstein

Posted

You're welcome. Good luck

Posted

Yes and you will need an attorney.

Asker

Posted

Would it be okay to use the attorney appointed to my case from the court during my trial? Or do you recommend that I hire a lawyer to prepare ahead of time? Is there a possibility of serving jail time? I'm not sure what to do.

Melissa I. Smejkal

Melissa I. Smejkal

Posted

Yes. If you already have a public defender you can continue with them. It is your choice if you want to hire a private attorney.

Asker

Posted

Yes I could serve jail time?

Melissa I. Smejkal

Melissa I. Smejkal

Posted

Highly unlikely.

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