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Charged with Theft?

Posted by attorney Martin Lascola

Theft charges, unlike retail theft, involve the unlawful acquisition of property from an individual or entity that is not a retail merchant. Defense of a charge of theft requires an experienced attorney who can effectively navigate through the courthouse where your case is pending. There are particular local rules and procedures that may vary depending upon the county of venue. The criminal defense team at Gardi & Haught, Ltd., have the experience and knowledge required to handle any allegation of theft (misdemeanor or felony) that you may be charged with. We thoroughly examine the evidence that we receive from the prosecutor on each matter, to determine whether or not your case should be taken to trial or challenged at a pre-trial motion hearing. In the event that the evidence is not favorable for our client, we are experienced negotiators and can often resolve cases favorably through plea negotiations. Often, in allegations of theft, the complaining witness (victim) of the theft merely wants to be monetarily restored, and does not wish to testify against the accused. In this instance, we arrange with the prosecution a way for our client to provide restitution to the victim in exchange for a dismissal of the charges, or in conjunction with some form of a deferred prosecution. Each option would result in the ultimate dismissal of the charge. This option may or may not be available for every situation, but it is something our legal defense team will explore. For some individuals, disposition of the case may result in Court Supervision. This is also a favorable outcome because it will not result in a public criminal record, and this sentence is also not a misdemeanor conviction as defined by the Illinois Code of Criminal Procedure. For those that have a more significant criminal history, other sentencing options include conviction sentences, i.e. Conditional Discharge (which is similar to Probation but the Defendant is not assigned a probation officer), Probation (where the Defendant is monitored by the Adult Probation Dept.), or a county jail sentence that can range anywhere from one (1) day to three-hundred sixty-four (364) days in custody. Individuals that have no current immigration status or who are working to receive legal permanent residency (green card) should be mindful that an allegations of theft (and retail theft) are considered crimes of moral turpitude and can have an adverse effect on pending or future immigration proceedings. In these instances, our legal team takes action to encourage the prosecutor to amend the theft or retail theft charge to an offense that does not pose the same immigration concerns. We are mindful of our client’s particular circumstances and work diligently to achieve the best outcome. Felony allegations of theft are generally probation eligible. However, if someone has a long history of theft convictions and/or a publishable criminal history involving other crimes, the accused may be sentenced to an Illinois State Penitentiary sentence if a matter results in either a finding of guilty after a trial, or a plea of guilty. Our attorneys have years of experience handling matters involving theft, and are familiar with local courthouse procedures, the various Assistant State’s Attorneys, Judges that preside in the various county courthouses, and local Clerks of the Circuit Court. Please contact us if you require legal assistance for any theft or other criminal defense matter throughout Chicago and its surrounding area.

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