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Illinois Bill Would Reduce Felony Convictions for Retail TheftDo you know that Illinois has one of the strictest retail theft laws in the U.S.? Illinois is one of only six states that allows felony convictions for stealing items valued at $300 or more. Many other states require the value to be more than $1,000 before a retail theft conviction becomes a felony. Members of the Illinois House of Representatives are trying to change the law to raise the minimum value for a felony theft charge and reduce the number of offenders who end up in prison.

New Law

The proposed bill would make three changes to Illinois’ criminal code regarding theft:

  • Theft of property valued at less than $2,000 would be a Class A misdemeanor;
  • Theft of property valued at $2,000 or more would be a Class 4 felony; and
  • A second theft conviction of less than $2,000 would be a felony only if the first conviction was a felony.

Predictably, business owners have publicly opposed any raise to the minimum value required for a felony retail theft conviction. Illinois lawmakers have admitted that they may need to reduce the $2,000 threshold in order to pass the bill. However, raising the minimum to even $1,000 would be an improvement for the state.

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Posted on in Criminal Law

shoplifting, McHenry County Criminal Defense AttorneyWhen an individual is accused of shoplifting, he or she may be detained by the store owner and then turned over to the police or banned from the store. Yet, what gives a store owner the right to detain an individual suspected of theft?

Store owners have the right to detain accused shoplifters based on a legal principle known as the shopkeeper's privilege—a legal doctrine initially created by judges that the Illinois legislature has since written into law. However, it is important to note that a shopkeeper's privilege is not absolute and an accused shoplifter who is detained using methods outside the privilege may have a claim against the store owner.

The Shopkeeper's Privilege

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