Retail Theft is a serious crime. Insurance companies pressure retailers to limit their theft losses and this has led to the creation of an enormous loss prevention industry.

Whether shoppers know it or not, they are under surveillance the moment they enter a store. In fact, some store chains have multiple camera systems that even allow lost prevention analysts to zero in for close up shots of suspect shoppers.

A charge of retail theft can be scheduled as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the value amount of the items stolen. According to the Illinois Statute on theft, if the value of the items stolen does not exceed $300, then it is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 364 days in jail, or a fine of $2,500, or both. However, if the value of the items exceeds $300, then it becomes a Class 3 Felony. A Class 3 Felony is punishable by 2-5 years in jail, or $25,000-50,000 in fines, or both!

It is possible to fight these cases at trial, but a capable attorney may be able to get your case dismissed under some circumstances, even if you were guilty. Cook County does have a diversion program that allows some first time offenders with clean background records to get their case dismissed if they complete a theft school program.


You may not hear about it on TV, but resisting arrest is one of the most serious misdemeanors with which you can be charged. You do not have to punch an officer to get a resisting arrest. In fact, almost any act of physical resistance will do.

Why is resisting arrest such a big deal? First, it is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 364 days in jail or up to $2,500 fine, or both. Even if you avoid a jail sentence, you will not be eligible for supervision. (Supervision means you have not been technically convicted of a crime). Plus resisting arrest cannot be expunged, or cleared, off your criminal record. You might have to petition for a pardon from the governor, a difficult and time consuming process. Therefore, a case of resisting arrest can hang on your shoulders like a ton of bricks for the rest of your life.

If you are charged with resisting arrest, you should strongly consider hiring an attorney prior to your court date. It is important to choose an attorney who works hard and is persistent in fighting for your defense. This type of attorney can provide the best possible outcome for your case.

An attorney can help prepare evidence to show why you deserve to have your case dismissed or at least a lighter sentence. An attorney can negotiate with prosecutors in ways that you may not be able to do yourself. For example, an attorney can request a conference, known as a 402 conference, where your attorney, the judge, and prosecutor can work out an agreement.