The Statute of Limitations on Theft in Illinois

By Danielle Smyth - Updated August 13, 2018
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In Illinois, theft is treated very seriously. Depending on the value of what was stolen and whether it was stolen directly from a person or just from their belongings, theft, or larceny, can be classified either as a misdemeanor or a felony. Felonies tend to incur more serious fines and prison sentences than do misdemeanors. In addition, the more serious the crime, the longer the statute of limitations.

What is the Illinois Statute of Limitations for Theft?

A statute of limitations outlines the amount of time that may pass after an incident or crime is committed before that crime is brought before a court of law. The idea behind this is that, only within a certain period will evidence or testimony remain valid to an extent that it can be used for judicial decision making.

In the state of Illinois, the statute of limitations depends on the severity of the crime, according to Statute 720 ILCS 5/16-1 . For burglary, the statute of limitations is three years. Receiving stolen property has either an 18-month or three-year statute of limitations, depending on the value of property received. Robbery has either a three-year statute of limitations or no time limit, again depending on the value of what was stolen. Theft itself has a statute of limitations of either 18 months, three years or seven years depending on the value of what was stolen and the circumstances surrounding the crime.

Misdemeanors Involving Theft in Illinois

In Illinois, the type of crime you commit will dictate whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony. Within each category are a variety of classes, again determined by the severity of the crime. For instance, the theft of property that is valued up to $500 and is not physically located on another person’s body at the time of the crime is classified as a misdemeanor.

How Much Money Stolen is a Felony?

If a theft is committed in a school, place of worship or government building, it is considered a class 4 felony, the lowest level of felony theft in Illinois. If you steal up to $500 directly from another person's body or steal items belonging to another that range from $500 to $10,000 in value, this is deemed a class 3 felony.

A class 2 felony is defined as the theft of property that ranges from $10,000 to $100,000 in value. This crime can be punishable by anywhere from three to seven years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.

A class 1 felony is the theft of property valued at over $100,000 but less than $500,000 in value. For this crime, you can be sentenced to between four and 15 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.

A class 1 non-probational felony in Illinois is classified as the theft of property valued at $500,000 to $ million. Finally, a class X felony occurs when there is a theft of property of more than $1 million in value. This can lead to a prison sentence of six to 30 years. Generally, an increase in felony theft amount equates to increased prison time.

About the Author

Danielle Smyth is a writer and content marketer from upstate New York. She holds a Master of Science in Publishing from Pace University. Her experience includes years of work in the insurance, workers compensation, disability, and background investigation fields. In addition to being the content writer and social media manager for Alliance Worldwide Investigative Group, she has written on legal topics for a number of other clients. She owns her own content marketing agency, Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing (www.wordsmythcontent.com), and she enjoys writing legal articles and blogs for clients in related industries.

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