Can I Still Be Arrested For Shoplifting If I Made It Out of the Store Without Getting Caught?

Shoplifting-300x226This morning I spoke to a client who made it out of a local store last night after shoplifting a couple of items without getting caught. The client wanted to know whether they could still be arrested for shoplifting and charged with a Retail Theft even though they were not caught inside the store. The client wanted to know how long they had to arrest him and charged him with a Retail Theft and what they should do if they were contacted by the police.

In all likelihood, if you made it out of the store without getting caught for shoplifting, it is unlikely that you will be arrested for the Retail Theft. However, just because you made it out of the store does not mean you’re out of the woods. Virtually every major retailer has security cameras inside their stores. I have had several cases in which my clients were arrested and charged with a Retail Theft days and weeks after the incident after they were identified on a security camera. I recently had a client that was arrested for a Retail Theft after a detective found a security video of the license plate number on my clients car as he was leaving the parking lot of the store immediately after the Retail Theft had occurred. The detective was able to locate my client after they checked the license plate number with the Secretary of State.

What Do I Do If The Police Contact Me About the Retail Theft?

If you are contacted by the police and they want to talk to you about this incident, this means that they may be on to you and you need to be careful about what you do from this point on. If a police officer calls you and starts asking you questions about this incident, my advice to you is to tell the police officer that you will not answer any of his questions unless the police get you a lawyer. If the police officer asks you to go to the police station so that he can talk to you about this incident, you should go to the police station. But if the police officer starts asking you questions, you should tell the police officer that you will not answer any questions unless they get you a lawyer. You need to understand that unless you ask for a lawyer, anything you say to the police officer can be used against you in Court. Once you assert your right to a lawyer, the police must stop questioning you. It is your responsibility to demand that they get you a lawyer before answering any of their questions. The biggest mistake that clients make is that they believe that they can talk themselves out of a situation. In many cases, the police are hoping that you will answer their questions so that they can put together a case against you. I have had countless cases that would never have resulted in an arrest if the client had simply demanded a lawyer and not answered any questions.

How Long Do the Police Have Before I Can Be Charged with Retail Theft?

The police have a certain amount of time to charge you with a Retail Theft. This is known as a Statute of Limitations. Statue of Limitations imposes a time limit for which you can be charged for a crime. Retail Theft is a class A Misdemeanor in Illinois which carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500. The Statute of Limitations for a Retail Theft misdemeanor in Illinois is 18 months. Criminal charges can be filed against you at any time up to 18 months after the Retail Theft was committed. In general, the longer the time after the Retail Theft, the less likely it is that you will be charged with the retail theft. But you will not be completely out of the woods until the 18 months are up.

James Dimeas is a nationally-recognized, award-winning, Retail Theft lawyer, with over-27 years of experience handling Retail Theft cases in Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, and Lake County. Attorney and Practice Magazine gave James Dimeas its “Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorney Award for Illinois.” The National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys gave James Dimeas its “Top 10 Attorney Award for the State of Illinois”. James Dimeas was named a “Best DUI Attorney.” Expertise named James Dimeas a “Best Criminal Defense Lawyer in Chicago.” The National Trial Lawyers named James Dimeas a “Top 100 Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer.” The American Society of Legal Advocates named James Dimeas a “Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer in the State of Illinois For the Years 2018 and 2019.” The American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys named James Dimeas a “10 Best Attorney for Client Satisfaction.” James Dimeas is rated “Superb” by AVVO, the highest rating possible for any Retail Theft attorney in the United States.

If you are facing a Retail Theft Shoplifting charge, you can contact James Dimeas anytime for a free and confidential consultation. You can talk to James Dimeas personally by calling him at 847-807-7405.

Additional Blogs:

Retail Theft and the Civil Penalty in Illinois, by James G. Dimeas, Chicago Criminal Lawyer Blog, May 14, 2018.

Can I Be Guilty of a Retail Theft if I Did Not Get Out of the Store?, by James G. Dimeas, Chicago Criminal Lawyer Blog, December 26, 2017.