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Is Breaking into a Car Burglary?

February 19th, 2019 at 5:37 pm

Illinois defense lawyerTwo individuals were recently arrested for multiple burglary charges in the area of 95th Street and Book Road in the Northwest Side. Naperville police say the pair first burglarized a home and then continued to steal from multiple vehicles. Both are facing felony charges, and it raises the question of whether or not vehicle burglary is a felony, or if these charges pertain only to the home they are suspected of breaking into.

Burglary and Illinois Law

According to 720 ILCS 5/19-1, burglary is defined as when a person without permission enters a “building, house trailer, watercraft, aircraft, motor vehicle, railroad car, or any part thereof with the intent to commit a felony or theft.”

The same statute also states that any violation of this law is considered a Class 3 felony. Under this law, if convicted, the two individuals mentioned above will face felony charges, possibly one for each vehicle entered.

The law does not distinguish locked vehicles from unlocked vehicles. This means even if there was no actual “breaking” into the vehicle, a person could still face vehicle burglary charges. However, the prosecution would have to prove that the defendant broke into the vehicle with the intention to steal or commit a felony.

Criminal Trespass to a Vehicle

A charge that is often associated with vehicle burglary is criminal trespass to a vehicle, outlined in 720 ILCS 5/21-2. Under this law, anyone that enters into a vehicle and operates it is also guilty of a crime. This law includes any type of vehicle including aircraft, watercraft, and snowmobiles.

This law is not part of Illinois’ burglary laws but instead, the state’s trespassing laws. Although still against the law, this crime is considered a Class A misdemeanor, which is a much lesser charge than the felony charge individuals will face with burglary charges.

Defenses to Vehicle Burglary

Many of the defenses used in burglary cases could also apply to vehicle burglary cases. For example, if an individual had permission to enter the vehicle, or even thought they had permission to enter it, they could be found innocent of vehicle burglary.

A person can very easily enter into a vehicle thinking it was theirs. This is one defense that is used often in vehicle burglary cases, but not in cases involving other types of burglary. Many people drive the same make and model of car, and if a person believes the car to be their own, they may mistakenly get in. This would not constitute vehicle burglary.

Call a Rolling Meadows Vehicle Burglary Lawyer that Can Help

Facing any type of burglary charges can be very stressful and traumatic. Felony charges are very serious and can result in high fines and several years in prison if convicted. However, a dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney can help get charges dropped or reduced to a lesser charge. If you have been charged with burglary or vehicle burglary, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200. We will review your case with you and discuss the many options you may have for a defense. We offer a free initial consultation so do not wait another minute. Let us start fighting for your freedom today.

 

Sources:

https://chicago.suntimes.com/crime/2-chicagoans-charged-with-naperville-residential-vehicle-burglaries/

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K19-1

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Written by Staff Writer

February 19th, 2019 at 5:37 pm

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