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Are Theft and Property Crimes Committed More During the Holidays?

 Posted on December 17, 2020 in Criminal Defense

Joliet criminal defense attorneyMany people look forward to the winter holidays for various reasons, including gathering with friends and family to exchange gifts and share a meal. However, this holiday season is unlike most others in our lifetime due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on society. In order to slow the spread of the contagious virus, many non-essential businesses have closed or reduced capacity and staff. This has put a significant strain on individuals who are struggling to pay their bills let alone buy Christmas gifts. According to national statistics, more theft crimes occur during the holidays even without a pandemic going on. For instance, larceny during the month of December is 22 percent higher than the average rate for larceny in all other months combined. If you or your loved one is facing charges for any kind of theft crime, it is essential to consult a skilled criminal defense attorney who can help reduce your sentence or have your case dismissed altogether. 

Different Types of Theft Offenses

Illinois takes theft crimes seriously, and therefore, it is important to understand what actions constitute these crimes. Common theft crimes such as robbery and burglary are often intertwined, but they are actually separate offenses under Illinois law. Robbery is defined as taking something from someone by force. However, if an individual feels threatened in any way, the theft charge escalates to robbery. 

Burglary means entering an area in which a person does not have the owner’s permission or authorization. Similar to trespassing, the main difference is the offender’s intent. The prosecution must prove that the defendant intended to commit a felony or steal an item. Possible charges can range from a Class 1 to a Class 2 felony. However, if the break-in with intent was at a daycare facility or a church building, it is enhanced to a Class 1 felony with a mandatory four-year prison term that could also go up to 15 years and include a maximum fine of $25,000. 

Property Crimes

Property crimes can include shoplifting, trespassing, and vandalism. How these offenses are charged in Illinois can vary depending on the value of the items stolen. In some cases, crimes of theft may result in a misdemeanor, while in other situations, they could be charged as felonies. The penalties for a felony conviction is much more severe than a misdemeanor guilty verdict. For example, a felony carries one year or more in prison and a possible fine up to $25,000. Depending on the circumstances, offenders may be eligible for probation. A felony conviction can remain on your record for many years and affect your educational or employment opportunities.

Contact a Joliet Criminal Defense Attorney

There are some crimes that occur more frequently during certain times of the year. Theft offenses typically happen around the holidays, and this year is especially challenging for so many because of the COVID-19 crisis. At McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC, we understand how false allegations and illegally seized evidence can ruin your reputation. Our knowledgeable and skilled Will County theft defense lawyers will carefully examine the details of your case to determine if your rights were violated in any way. Call us today at 815-727-0100 to schedule your free consultation. 






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