Since the emergence of the internet, Illinois has had to accommodate the possibility of crimes transpiring on the world wide web by adding and amending statutory law. There is a section of Illinois statutes specifically labeled “internet offenses” that addresses property that has been stolen and sold online.
The online sale of stolen property is one of the most common internet theft crimes. And as the use of the web by people has substantially increased in the last decade, so has the rates of this crime. The spike may also have a lot to do with the fact that Illinois law enforcement has decided to focus on investigating these crimes much more now than ever before.
While there are thieves and culprits who have hurt innocent people by selling stolen property over the net, there are also people who have been wrongfully accused of this crime and need justice. Internet theft crimes are taken incredibly seriously in the state of Illinois. This is why the assistance of a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney is required in these cases.
If you're in this predicament, don't hesitate to contact the legal professionals at Dolci & Weiland. Our team is dedicated to protecting the rights of people like you and fiercely defending their charges. We believe that one of the keys to success in the legal world is knowledge of the law and understanding the gravity of your charges. So, here's an overview of the state law concerning the online sale of stolen property.
What Constitutes the Online Sale of Stolen Property in Illinois?
According to Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/16J-10, a person commits the offense of online sale of stolen property when he or she uses or access the internet with the intent of selling property gained through unlawful means.
To convict a defendant of this crime, the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knew the property was gained through unlawful means, and sold it or attempted to sell it on the internet anyway. Notice that the law doesn't mention anything about the defendant stealing this property. That's because whether or not he or she stole the property isn't necessary to prosecute. As long as the defendant is caught selling the stolen property online, he or she has constituted the criminal offense of the online sale of stolen property in Illinois.
Penalties for the Online Sale of Stolen Property in Illinois
The online sale of stolen property is a felony under Illinois law. Much like other theft crimes, the penalties for this offense get more severe as the value of the stolen property increases.
If the stolen property has a value of $300 or less, then the defendant may be charged with a Class 4 felony. A conviction of a Class 4 felony is punishable of one to three years in prison and a fine up to $25,000.
If the stolen property is valued at $301 or more, then this crime will be charged as a Class 2 felony. This offense carries penalties of three to seven years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.
Potential Defenses for the Online Sale of Stolen Property Charges
An Illinois criminal defense attorney has the experience, expertise, and knowledge to assert potential defenses to reduce the severity of your sentence. In some cases, a legal defense may be so effective that it causes your charges to be dropped altogether. There is one defense that is commonly utilized in the online sale of stolen property cases.
You didn't know the property was stolen. A defendant cannot be convicted of the online sale of stolen property if they genuinely did not know the property they put up for sale was obtained through unlawful means, and there was no good reason that they would know.
Charged With the Online Sale of Stolen Property in Illinois? Dolci & Weiland Can Help
Now that you know what you're up against, you can begin to make decisions that will affect the outcome of your trial.
The most important decision you can make in this predicament is to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney and secure legal representation. You should never defend yourself in any case, especially in one like this one with so much at stake - and you won't have to with the legal team at Dolci & Weiland on your side.
Time is of the essence in criminal defense cases. It is best to obtain representation upon immediate notice of your charges. To speak with a member of our team, fill out an online case evaluation form or give us a ring at the office closest to you today. The number for our downtown Chicago location is 312-238-9007, for our DuPage office, call 630-261-9098.