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Illinois Criminal Code of 1961

Article 16F: Illinois Crime Laws Regarding Wireless Service Theft

Illinois lawmakers decided that thefts relating to wireless devices deserve their own specific charges and sentences. In this section of Article 16 of the Illinois criminal code, these charges are discussed. Wireless device is defined as any type of instrument, device, machine, or equipment that is capable of transmitting or receiving telephonic, electronic or radio communications.

One commits the crime of theft of wireless service when one intentionally obtains wireless service by the use of an unlawful wireless device or without the consent of the wireless service provider. For example, intercepting private radio waves using a tampering device would qualify as a crime until this portion of Illinois law. A violation is a Class 2 felony. It is also a crime to facilitate theft of wireless service, which is a Class A misdemeanor.

Need an Illinois criminal defense attorney? If you've been arrested for a crime regarding wireless service in Illinois, call our Chicago criminal defense attorneys today at (312) 466-9466 to discuss your case.

The text below comes from Article 16F of the Illinois Criminal Code of 1961. This law may have changed -- please read the important legal disclaimer at the bottom of this page.

Illinois Criminal Code of 1961 - Article 16F

(720 ILCS 5/16F-1)

Sec. 16F-1. Short title. This Article may be cited as the Wireless Service Theft Prevention Law. (Source: P.A. 89-497, eff. 6-27-96.) 720 ILCS 5/16F-2

(720 ILCS 5/16F-2)

Sec. 16F-2. Definitions. As used in this Article, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this Section:

"Manufacture of an unlawful wireless device" means to produce or assemble an unlawful wireless device or to modify, alter, program, or reprogram a wireless device to be capable of acquiring or facilitating the acquisition of wireless service without the consent of the wireless service provider.

"Unlawful wireless device" means any electronic serial number, mobile identification number, personal identification number, or any wireless device that is capable, or has been altered, modified, programmed, or reprogrammed alone or in conjunction with another access device or other equipment so as to be capable, of acquiring or facilitating the acquisition of a wireless service without the consent of the wireless service provider. The term includes, but is not limited to, phones altered to obtain service without the consent of the wireless service provider, tumbler phones, counterfeit or clone phones, tumbler microchips, counterfeit or clone microchips, scanning receivers of wireless service of a wireless service provider, and other instruments capable of disguising their identity or location or of gaining access to a communications system operated by a wireless service provider.

"Wireless device" includes any type of instrument, device, machine, or equipment that is capable of transmitting or receiving telephonic, electronic or radio communications, or any part of such instrument, device, machine, or equipment, or any computer circuit, computer chip, electronic mechanism, or other component that is capable of facilitating the transmission or reception of telephonic, electronic, or radio communications.

"Wireless service" or "telephone service" includes, but is not limited to, any service provided for a charge or compensation to facilitate the origination, transmission, emission, or reception of signs, signals, data, writings, images and sounds, or intelligence of any nature by telephone, including cellular telephones, wireless, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectronic, or photo-optical system.

"Wireless service provider" means a person or entity providing telecommunication service, including, but not limited to, a cellular, paging, or other wireless communications company or other person or entity that, for a fee, supplies the facility, cell site, mobile telephone switching office, or other equipment or telecommunication service. (Source: P.A. 89-497, eff. 6-27-96.) 720 ILCS 5/16F-3

(720 ILCS 5/16F-3)

Sec. 16F-3. Theft of wireless service.

(a) A person commits the offense of theft of wireless service if he or she intentionally obtains wireless service by the use of an unlawful wireless device or without the consent of the wireless service provider.

(b) Theft of wireless service is a Class A misdemeanor when the aggregate value of service obtained is less than $300 and a Class 4 felony when the aggregate value of service obtained is $300 or more. For a second or subsequent offense, or if the person convicted of the offense has been previously convicted of any similar crime in this or any other state or federal jurisdiction, theft of wireless service is a Class 2 felony. (Source: P.A. 89-497, eff. 6-27-96.) 720 ILCS 5/16F-4

(720 ILCS 5/16F-4)

Sec. 16F-4. Facilitating theft of wireless service by manufacture, distribution, or possession of devices for theft of wireless services.

(a) A person commits the offense of facilitating theft of wireless service when he or she:

(1) makes, distributes, possesses, uses, or assembles an unlawful wireless device or modifies, alters, programs, or reprograms a wireless device designed, adapted, or that can be used:

(i) for commission of a theft of wireless service or to acquire or facilitate the acquisition of wireless service without the consent of the wireless service provider; or

(ii) to conceal or to assist another to conceal from any wireless service or from any lawful authority the existence or place of origin or of destination of any telecommunication; or

(2) sells, possesses, distributes, gives, or otherwise transfers to another or offers, promotes, or advertises for sale:

(i) any unlawful wireless device, or any plans or instructions for making or assembling an unlawful wireless device, under circumstances evidencing an intent to use or employ the unlawful wireless device, or to allow it to be used or employed, for a purpose described in paragraph (1) or knowing or having reason to believe that the unlawful wireless device is intended to be so used, or that the aforesaid plans or instructions are intended to be used for making or assembling an unlawful wireless device; or

(ii) any material, including hardware, cables, tools, data, computer software, or other information or equipment, knowing that the purchaser or a third person intends to use the material in the manufacture of an unlawful wireless device.

(b) Facilitating theft of wireless service is a Class A misdemeanor when the aggregate value of service obtained is less than $300 and a Class 4 felony when the aggregate value of service obtained is $300 or more. For a second or subsequent offense, or if the person convicted of the offense has been previously convicted of any similar crime in this or any other state or federal jurisdiction, facilitating theft of wireless service is a Class 2 felony. (Source: P.A. 89-497, eff. 6-27-96.) 720 ILCS 5/16F-5

(720 ILCS 5/16F-5)

Sec. 16F-5. Restitution. The court may, in addition to any other sentence authorized by law, sentence a person convicted of violating this Article to make restitution in the manner described in Section 5-5-6 of the Unified Code of Corrections. (Source: P.A. 89-497, eff. 6-27-96.) 720 ILCS 5/16F-6

(720 ILCS 5/16F-6)

Sec. 16F-6. Civil remedy. A wireless service provider aggrieved by a violation of this Article may, in a civil action in any court of competent jurisdiction, obtain appropriate relief, including preliminary and other equitable or declaratory relief, compensatory and punitive damages, reasonable investigation expenses, costs of suit, and attorney fees. (Source: P.A. 89-497, eff. 6-27-96.)

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DISCLAIMER: These excerpts from the law are provided for reference purposes only. Visitors to our Chicago criminal defense lawyer website should be aware that Illinois criminal laws have been amended many times and that Illinois crime laws posted on this site may not be current. In addition, Illinois criminal case law defines precedents for legal determinations that are not defined in the original laws.

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