Do I Need to Hire a Criminal Lawyer for a Retail Theft case? An Illinois and Wisconsin Criminal Defense Attorney Explains the Potential Consequences



Many times a potential client will ask me “Why do I need a Lawyer for a retail theft when they say I only took a: (Shirt, Bottle of Liquor, Candy Bar, Batteries, Baby Formula, etc…)?” Like speeding tickets it seems that people just don’t take these types of cases seriously, but not handling these cases the right way can lead to many different serious issues down the road that could have been avoided. The short answer to the question is, yes, you need an experienced criminal lawyer to handle your case and I will now explain why in greater detail.

The Initial Consequences

Retail Theft can be considered a misdemeanor or felony offense in Illinois and Wisconsin depending on the retail value of the item and the defendant’s prior convictions for retail theft or other theft related offenses. This means very often the possible sentence for these cases could be jail or prison time, which is certainly reason enough to have a qualified Criminal Defense Attorney on your side. Probation and Court Supervision are other potential sentences and for first offenders there is also the possibility of a deferred prosecution depending on the jurisdiction of the offense. A deferred prosecution usually involves the defendant attending an informational anti-theft behavioral course or some amount of community service. If satisfactorily completed the State will then dismiss or drop all charges against the defendant. There is also the option of going to trial before a judge or jury to challenge the retail theft charge. With these many options and possibilities it becomes obvious why a person would need to consult with an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney to determine their best course of action when facing these charges.

The Future Consequences

After the retail theft case is handled in court in some instances even more serious consequences can occur in the future if the case is not handled properly. If a person is not a citizen of the United States the crime of retail theft can have serious consequences such as deportation from the United States or exclusion from admission to the United States. Even for citizens of the United States the consequences may be severe. As a crime of moral turpitude, retail thefts that show up in background checks will commonly adversely affect a person’s job or school prospects. A prior retail theft can also serve to enhance a second retail theft to a felony offense. As you can see from this discussion there is a lot at stake and these cases should most definitely be handled with great care.

Managing the Consequences and Making the Right Decision in the Case

Absorbing all the potential dispositions and consequences can be overwhelming and each case carries unique facts and circumstances. Different court locations and Prosecutors may also have different approaches to these cases.  The best way to evaluate what course of action is best for your case is to call the Richard Albanese Law Office for a free consultation. Our office handles every type of Retail Theft case in almost every court in Illinois and Wisconsin and will advise you on your alternatives. Call today for a free consultation at (312) 882-1973.



Overweight Violations in Illinois or Wisconsin: Trucking Companies and Drivers – Don’t be the Biggest Loser, consult an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

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Representing truck drivers and trucking companies carries a special responsibility. Sure, driving is usually important to everyone with a vehicle on the road that has to get from place to place, but for the truck drivers and their companies the road is the job and they depend on their licenses to make a living. Overweight violations can often cost more than a drunk driving ticket in many states depending on the amount of weight the truck is over the limits in a given geographic area. The good news is that with proper legal representation from an experienced attorney at the Richard Albanese Law Office, these citation costs can often be negotiated down to a reduced rate that helps the driver and company move forward and be better prepared to avoid future volations. 

Why are Overweight Trucks such a Big Deal?

There are many dangers and concerns cited by State and Local authorities associated with overweight trucks. One danger is that on the highway an overweight truck cannot be controlled as well with the brake systems. The obvious consequence is a truck that can’t slow down or stop as fast as it should be able to or even worse a truck that loses control and causes a collision with other vehicles on the road. Another danger cited is damage to highway infrastructure. Highways are only meant to absorb so much wear and tear and it is no wonder this would be a concern due to the costs or repairing or replacing a highway from overuse or too much weight being brought to bear on asphalt. Bridges and other structures are especially dangerous places for an overweight truck to pass as a collapse may occur over time. Other areas simply don’t want truck traffic in a certain part of town due to the dangers posed to children in the area or a high volume of traffic. 

What Can be Done Once I Get a Ticket?

Once retained by a company or individual driver the Richard Albanese Law Office initiates conversations with the State or Local Prosecutors and negotiates towards a reduced fine, which is determined by past history of the driver or company, where the violation occurred depending on city and type of road, and how much the truck was overweight in a given area. Often times a reduction of a third to half or more of the fine can be negotiated. Please contact the Richard Albanese Law Office today for a free consultation concerning your overweight case in Illinois or Wisconsin. You can contact the Richard Albanese Law Office at 312-882-1973.

To learn more about the public concerns regarding overweight trucks please visit this site:

An experienced Criminal Defense Attorney explains how your Speeding Ticket affects your Car Insurance Rates in Illinois or Wisconsin.


This question is often the main focus and reason for an everyday citizen to hire an experienced traffic attorney to handle their case. The reason is obvious. Paying an attorney to properly handle one ticket can potentially save a client from long lasting increased insurance premiums that may result from a ticket on the person’s record. The specific answer to the question of how a speeding ticket may affect a client’s insurance rates has to be initially answered, “It depends.” The reason being is every client is different and thus has different factors to consider such as geography, prior traffic history, age, sex, type of car, how fast the ticket alleges the driver to be going, etc. A qualified traffic attorney cannot quote what every policy carrier might increase a rate to as that information varies with insurance companies and a client’s history, but a qualified attorney should be able to assess the severity of a ticket and how to minimize potential rate increases by disposing of the traffic ticket in a manner  that is most favorable to the client’s interests. If you have a traffic or speeding ticket of any kind in Illinois or Wisconsin call the Richard Albanese Law Office today for a free consultation on how best to proceed with your case and to keep your insurance rates as low as possible. You can reach the Richard Albanese Law Office at (312) 882-1973 or at or at

For a more detailed discussion and elaboration on this topic please visit here:

Underage Drinking or Underage Consumption Violations in Wisconsin or Illinois: An Illinois and Wisconsin Criminal Defense Attorney explains why you need an attorney to protect your future.


Many parents of college or high school students just pay an underage drinking ticket or ordinance violation without much thought. The young person usually does not even think beyond how unlucky they were to get caught at a party or bar by the local police. Often these cases do not require a court appearance and are thus shrugged at or laughed off as a right of passage and forgotten about. As a prosecutor for more than a decade and now as a defense attorney in Illinois and Wisconsin I can tell you one thing is for certain, the criminal justice system does not forget. In this age of the internet personal information is available about almost anyone and at lightening speed. A simple google search by a prospective employer can turn up an underage drinking conviction in Illinois or Wisconsin. Unfortunately, most young people and even parents don’t realize the consequence until it is too late. Consider a familiar scenario as an example: Two or more young graduates are apply for the same position in their career field. The applicants are equally qualified based on their grades and internship experience, but one has an underage drinking violation in his or her background. Now whose resume do you think will be pushed aside first? Think also about the costs of college education and how much many families sacrifice to see their children succeed, but then fail to retain a qualified Criminal Defense attorney to help with these underage drinking violations that can destroy any future prospect of meaningful employment. Lets’s face it the job market is tough enough for graduates in today’s economy and the last thing any of them need is the excess baggage of an underage drinking conviction in their background.

What can a lawyer do for my kid? He was caught red handed with a solo cup of beer at the party? or She blew into a breathalyzer what can a lawyer do about that?  A few common scenarios and good questions to ask. The good news is that something can be done if I am involved at the start of the case. My years of experience on both sides of the criminal justice system have taught me that most Prosecutors do not take these underage drinking offenses that seriously if it is a first offense situation. The reason being is that most Prosecutors have more serious cases to devote their time too and are also not looking to permanently ruin an otherwise law abiding young person for this type of common momentary lapse of judgment. I have been able to negotiate deferred prosecutions in almost all underage drinking scenarios in both Illinois and Wisconsin. Often times the Prosecutor may require some community service be performed or a class be attended regarding alcohol abuse awareness. If the young person complies then the case is routinely dismissed.

Don’t underestimate the impact of underage drinking violations as I have heard far too many stories of young people struggling to find a job or to get into a program of higher education after pleading guilty to these tickets years before and at that point it is too late. Contact the Richard Albanese Law Office for a free underage drinking case evaluation or consultation on any traffic or criminal matter. Richard can be reached at (312) 882-1973 or by email at

You were involved in a minor or major traffic accident and got a ticket from the police, do you need a lawyer to represent you? An Illinois and Wisconsin Criminal Defense Attorney explains liability issues that can arise in traffic accident cases


Its a rainy night as you head home from work, the road is a bit slick and you are in a hurry to get home after a long day. You slam on the brakes, but its too late, your car skids and hits the car in front of you that suddenly stopped. You get out and call the police, exchange insurance information and everyone seems fine at the time. After listening to both drivers explain what happened you get a ticket for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. Now what? Do you need a Lawyer?

The above scenario happens all the time on the roads of Illinois and Wisconsin to drivers of all walks of life. Sending in a payment for the ticket in the mail may seem like the thing to do at the time as it is a cheaper option than hiring an attorney, but is it really the best way to go?  I would suggest no it is not the best way to go and you should consult with an experienced traffic attorney upon receiving the ticket. Failing to do can expose you to civil liability for causing injuries to someone you didn’t even know was hurt. Often times a civil lawsuit for personal injuries follows a traffic accident. Sometimes these matters are dealt with by insurance companies but other times a driver may have personal liability for an accident beyond the policy limits if they are responsible for causing the accident that resulted in the injuries. When a person pleads guilty to a traffic ticket or sends the ticket in admitting guilt they are making a legal admission of fault that can be introduced at a civil proceeding later on down the road. There is often alot at stake in these cases and a misstep in traffic court can result in bigger issues in the civil case.

An experienced Traffic Lawyer like Richard Albanese will take the case to court and generally advise the client that a trial may be the best option instead of pleading guilty. Often just going to court with an attorney will result in the charge being dismissed if the other party does not show up to court after the case is set for trial. If insurance companies have resolved the damages ahead of time it is not uncommon for the complaining witness to not show up in court. Often the person who was hit does show up to court along with their civil attorney. This persons interests are being looked after, shouldn’t yours be too? At trial the worst thing that may happen is you are found guilty by a judge or jury and are made to pay a fine, but being found guilty after a trial does not harm you the way a plea or admission of guilt does.

Remember, if you get in an accident and you get the ticket in Illinois or Wisconsin please contact the Richard Albanese Law Office for more information on your case today at (312) 882-1973 or at