Client was accused of stealing a significant amount of property from his employer valued at approximately $75,000.00. Client was subsequently terminated from his position and charged with felony theft (Class 1 Felony, 4-15 Years). When charged with a class 1 Felony Theft, it is alleged that the charged individual unlawfully took property valued between $10,000-100,000.
When determining the level of misdemeanor or felony to charge the offense at, the Prosecutor typically evaluates the amount of money that is alleged to have been unlawfully taken by the individual charged. In some circumstances, the nature of the institution where the theft occurred also plays a role in charging decisions. This type of crime can be charged as low as a Class A misdemeanor and as high as a Class X Felony. *See Footnote 1, Classes of Illinois Felonies.
The client in this situation was charged with a Class 1 Felony which is punishable from 4-15 years in the penitentiary plus fines of up to $25,000.00 plus restitution. Client and his wife were fearful of the potential lengthy prison sentence that the client was facing. After being retained, Wigell Criminal Defense immediately began to work on the case. After consulting with the client on several occasions and conducting a thorough analysis of the discovery, it was determined that the best approach was to negotiate a resolution.
After having detailed discussions with the client, he authorized the attorneys of Wigell Criminal Defense to negotiate with the prosecutor for a possible plea in his case. The prosecutor initially offered felony probation with the condition of restitution. The client was very concerned (and rightfully so) to plead guilty to a felony charge due to the fact that it would impact his ability to obtain future employment.
Determined to fight for the client, Wigell Criminal Defense engaged in aggressive negotiations with the prosecutor to attempt to obtain an offer where the client could plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of theft. The prosecutor was initially resistant to the idea of offering of a plea to a misdemeanor. As part of Wigell Criminal Defense’s strategy for negotiations to counter the prosecutor’s position, a mitigation letter was prepared and tendered to the prosecutor.
A mitigation letter is a letter that essentially outlines the positive factors of an individual’s background. Typically presented in a narrative format, the letter entails the individual’s personal background, work history, educational achievements, family connections and in our client’s case, his lack of criminal background and suggestion of alternative sentences.
But after months of aggressive negotiations and the prosecutor’s detailed review of the mitigation letter submitted by Wigell Criminal Defense, an agreement was reached by all parties. Specifically, the client would plead guilty to an amended charge of misdemeanor theft and pay an agreed amount of restitution.
The client was ecstatic with the result and was overjoyed that he would not have a felony on his record for the rest of his life. Since this case, the client was able to find meaningful employment and move forward from the terrible impact the case had upon his life. The client will also have the opportunity to seal the misdemeanor conviction after the requisite waiting period has passed.
Theft can be charged as either a Class A misdemeanor or a felony in Illinois. A Class A Misdemeanor is an offense that is punishable by 364 days in jail, up to a $2500 fine, possible restitution and up to 24 months of probation.
Illinois Felonies are classified as follows:
- Class 4 Felony: 1-3 Years IDOC
- Class 3 Felony: 2-5 Years IDOC
- Class 2 Felony: 3-7 Years IDOC
- Class 1 Felony: 4-15 Years IDOC
- Class X Felony: 6-30 Years IDOC
- Murder: 20 years to Life in Prison