This is the next post in a series of articles discussing defending against specific types of felony charges in Peoria, Illinois. My previous post focused on gun-related felony offenses and potential defenses against such charges. Firearm offenses are typically charged as felonies under Illinois law. The penalties for conviction may include incarceration, significant fines, the loss of certain liberties, such as owning or possessing a gun in the future, and the long-term implications of having a felony conviction on one’s permanent criminal record. It is imperative, therefore, to retain an attorney with criminal defense experience to review your case and represent your legal interests. In this article, I will address defending against felony theft charges. If you have been arrested, contact my office today to speak with an attorney.
Theft occurs in Illinois when one takes or exerts control over property which belongs to someone else. Theft can occur in a variety of contexts and may involve other offenses such as robbery, embezzlement, burglary, fraud, or firearm charges. The penalties for theft are based on the value of the property. Generally speaking, if the value of the property is $500 or more, the offense will be charged as a felony. The consequences for those convicted of a felony are severe and will increase as the value of the property increases. In some cases, it may be possible to defend against such charges on factual grounds, such as disputing the value of the property that was stolen. In others, law enforcement’s violations of the defendant’s rights, such as overly suggestive eyewitness identifications or violations of the Fourth or Fifth Amendments to the Constitution may lead to the exclusion of evidence from the case and potentially the dismissal of the charges.
For instance, it is not uncommon for white collar theft charges, such as those involving embezzlement or fraud, to involve violations of the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights against illegal searches and seizures. This is because such cases often involve the seizure of electronic evidence from a defendant’s computer or phone, or documentary evidence from one’s home or office. When investigating such matters, officers or agents are generally required to obtain a warrant before seizing such information or evidence. If a warrant was required but was not obtained or was obtained inappropriately based on a lack of probable cause, then it may be possible to exclude such evidence from court proceedings. If, for example, police storm a business executive’s home with a warrant and seize computers, files, phones, etc., and it is later discovered that their search warrant was based on falsified evidence or insufficient cause, it may be possible to exclude such evidence from the case. Depending on the importance of the evidence that is excluded, such a ruling may result in a dismissal of the case. An experienced criminal defense attorney will carefully review all actions taken by law enforcement to determine whether the accused’s rights were violated.
My practice is dedicated to defending the rights of the accused. I am a former prosecutor and defense attorney with over twenty years of experience, and am ready to assist you. Contact my Peoria office today to speak with a lawyer. In addition to Peoria, we also serve clients in Bloomington, Decatur, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington and the counties of Fulton, Knox, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford. Areas where we handle federal cases include Peoria, Springfield, Champaign, and Rock Island.