Our client, was first accused of shoplifting at a Bloomingdale’s Store in downtown Chicago. Specifically, she was accused of stealing a dress by hiding it her purse and attempting to leave the store without paying for the aforementioned dress. The client had hired Wigell Law Group to represent her in this case.
While the first case was pending, our client was arrested again for another retail theft offense as well as possessing a controlled substance. Our client was accused of attempting to walk out of a Macy’s store in Chicago with a pair of designer sunglasses as well as being found with cocaine on her person. She was then subsequently charged with a felony retail theft and possession of a controlled substance.
After the client’s bond hearing on the second case, she also incurred a third charge of VOBB (Violation of Bail Bond) due to her being charged with the second case while the first case was still pending. When an individual is charged with a felony and released on bond, one standard condition of bond is that the individual not violate a State or Federal Law while the case is pending. If a person is charged with another offense while on bond, this results in the VOBB charge being filed by the prosecutors assigned to the initial case. The class of felony of VOBB is typically one class below the initial pending charge. In our client’s case, the VOBB charge was a Class 4 Felony since the Felony Retail Theft charge in the first case was a class 3 felony.
After the bond hearing on the second case, the case then went to the preliminary hearing. A preliminary hearing is a method of formalizing the charges in a felony case. A preliminary hearing is a hearing that is conducted before the Judge. At this hearing, the State’s Attorney puts on a witness (typically the arresting officer) who testifies as to what allegedly occurred. The defense has the opportunity to cross-examine the witness on limited issues. The standard in these hearings is whether there is probable cause that a crime may have been committed. This is a very low standard of proof and evidence which is typically inadmissible at a trial is allowed to be introduced at a preliminary hearing.
In this case, the loss prevention officer of Macys who detained our client testified for the State as to his version of what occurred. Effective cross-examination at the preliminary hearing revealed multiple holes and weaknesses in the loss prevention officer’s testimony. These holes and weaknesses resulted in the State failing to establish probable cause that a crime may have been committed. The Judge without hesitation dismissed the case. This dismissal also resulted in the third charge VOBB being dismissed.
With the second case and VOBB charge being successfully dismissed, the attorneys at Wigell Law Group continued to fight the charges of the first retail theft case. After numerous court dates, the Assistant State’s Attorney in that case then made an offer of “Second Chance” Probation. “Second Chance” Probation is a special type of probation that avoids a felony conviction on an individual’s record. Specifically, when an individual accepts of plea of second chance probation, the conviction is entered for the mandated period (typically 24 months) and the individual must successfully complete required conditions of second chance probation.
The client was grateful for the result of “second chance” probation which gave her the opportunity to rebuild her life which was negatively impacted by her substance abuse addiction. This result ultimately will avoid a felony conviction on her record thus giving her a “second chance” at life.