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What is a “Dwelling” When it Comes to Burglary in Illinois?

March 11th, 2016 at 8:44 am

burglary in Illinois, Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense AttorneyIndividuals who find themselves facing burglary charges may encounter serious consequences if convicted. Burglary charges come in two varieties: burglary and residential burglary. Burglary is a lesser included charge of residential burglary—all of the elements of the crime of burglary are included as elements of the crime of residential burglary. However, in either case, burglary charges are serious—both burglary and residential burglary are felony charges.

What Constitutes Burglary in Illinois?

In Illinois, under 720 ILCS 5/19-1(a), a person commits a burglary when he or she knowingly enters or remains without authority and with the intent to commit a felony or theft in a:

  • Building;
  • Housetrailer;
  • Motor vehicle;
  • Watercraft;
  • Aircraft; or
  • Railroad car.

Burglary committed in a school, daycare, or place of worship carries harsher consequences than burglary of any other building. You can also get into trouble if you are caught in possession or for selling burglary tools, such as keys, instruments, or other devices that can be used to break into any of the places identified above.

What Constitutes Residential Burglary in Illinois?

Residential burglary is outlined in 720 ILCS 5/19.3, and specifically addresses when a person commits a burglary of a dwelling of another. But the statute covering residential burglary does not specifically lay out what constitutes a “dwelling.” The definition of a dwelling is found in 720 ILCS 5/2-6, which indicates that the following places are considered to be dwellings for the purposes of residential burglary:

  • A building, such as a house or an apartment;
  • A mobile residence, such as a trailer or a mobile home; and
  • Any other living quarters.  

What if the “Dwelling” Was Not Occupied?

What happens if the place that was burglarized was not occupied at the time of the alleged burglary? Would the home still be considered a “dwelling” under Illinois law? When no one is specifically living in the dwelling, then it is quite possible that the dwelling does not meet the criteria of being a dwelling. Illinois case law requires that the home or dwelling needs to be inhabited by someone in order to be considered a dwelling for the purposes of residential burglary.

Often times, criminal defendants are charged with residential burglary and burglary, even though the place that was allegedly burglarized was not a “dwelling.” Proving that the place that was burglarized was not a dwelling can get the charges reduced from residential burglary to burglary. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help determine and argue whether the place that was burglarized constituted a dwelling under the law.

Let Us Assist You

Burglary charges are felony charges, and you should make every effort to have your charges reduced or dropped. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can help. Please do not hesitate to contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately if you are facing burglary or residential burglary charges in Illinois. We are here to help.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=62600000&SeqEnd=63400000

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=62600000&SeqEnd=63400000

http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/Opinions/AppellateCourt/2013/2ndDistrict/2110524.pdf

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Written by Staff Writer

March 11th, 2016 at 8:44 am

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