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Archive for the ‘burglary’ Category

How to Fight a Burglary Charge in Illinois

August 6th, 2018 at 4:55 pm

burglary, burglary charge, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys, theft charge, burglary defenseFacing any criminal charge can be alarming and frightening. Most crimes are made up of different elements, levels, and a number of other factors that can be confusing. Burglary is no exception. In Illinois, there is more than one type of burglary. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged crime, a defendant could be charged with a Class 1 felony, which is the most severe type of felony possible for a burglary charge. Since a charge can be so serious, it is imperative to have an attorney who can provide the best defense possible. There are many strategies and defenses that can be employed to fight a burglary charge, as described in detail below.  

You Have an Alibi

One of the strongest defenses to burglary available is that you simply were not around to do it. Being able to prove your whereabouts, beyond just you saying you were not there to commit the crime, is a strong device. In order to establish an alibi, any number of things can be proved to show the defendant was doing something else at the time of the crime — video tape, cell phone records, credit card receipts, or even witness testimony.

There is No Proof

A strategy that is often effective in criminal cases is attacking every piece of evidence that the prosecutor is presenting to prove a defendant’s guilt. Poking holes in the credibility of the evidence, proving that police work or searches were illegal, and otherwise proving that evidence is lacking and insufficient can result in a not guilty finding.

Often times, properties will have surveillance cameras to monitor what is going on within a building. This footage, however, is not always of the highest quality. A grainy video surveillance system could provide doubt that it is the defendant that is the one committing the crime.

You Were Authorized to Enter the Property

There is a big distinction between burglary and theft. Burglary requires that a person entered the property of another with the intent to commit a crime. They must also not have the permission to enter. Theft, on the other hand, involves the taking of property from a place or dwelling that the defendant is allowed to be in. Therefore, if a defendant can prove that they had permission to enter a property, burglary is not an appropriate charge. While a burglary charge may be avoided, there is still the possibility for a theft charge.

Contact Us Today for Help

If you have been charged with burglary, you need an attorney who has the strategy and capabilities to fight your case with fervor. The passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley are here to help you. We understand that a criminal charge can have devastating effects on one’s life. Therefore, you need an attorney you can trust to obtain the best result possible. Contact us today for a consultation.

Sources:

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

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K16-1

Types of Burglary Charges in Illinois

June 8th, 2018 at 6:13 am

burglary charges, Class 2 felony, home invasion, residential burglary, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneysWhen someone thinks about burglary, he or she may think of a person breaking into a building, or home, to steal something valuable. While that is burglary, there are other instances in which a person can face burglary charges and not even realize it.

If you are facing charges for burglary in Illinois, it is imperative that you contact an attorney immediately. To be sure, a skilled lawyer can help protect your rights throughout each stage of the criminal process.

Types of Burglary in Illinois

The following includes various types of burglary charges in Illinois, all of which require the assistance of a skilled attorney.

Burglary

According to Illinois statute, burglary is committed when a person “knowingly enters or without authority remains within a building, house trailer, watercraft, aircraft, motor vehicle, railroad car, or any part thereof, with intent to commit therein a felony or theft.” Burglary is considered a Class 2 felony in Illinois and carries a potential sentence of three to seven years.

Residential Burglary

Residential burglary is considered more serious than the burglary of a building or other structure. A residential burglary is similar to the definition of burglary, but residential burglary is entering the dwelling of another with the intent to commit a felony. For a residential burglary conviction, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that a person intended to commit a felony. This is a Class 1 felony.

Home Invasion

Home invasion is very similar to a residential burglary. However, it is made more serious and is considered a Class X felony. A home invasion occurs when an individual enters the home of another and knows that the residents of the home are present. Additionally, one of the following factors must be present:

  • The defendant possesses a weapon;
  • The defendant fires a gun;
  • The defendant threatens to fire a gun;
  • The defendant assaults a resident or threatens force; or
  • The defendant sexual assaults a resident, or commits some other form of abuse.

Criminal Trespass

Criminal trespass involves an individual entering the property of another without authority, but without the intention to commit a felony. Criminal trespass can either be a Class A misdemeanor or Class 4 felony. It is a felony when the residents of the property are present at the property; it is a misdemeanor when the residents are not present.

Possession of Burglary Tools

Even possessing burglary tools in Illinois is a crime; it is a Class 4 felony. However, a person must also have the intent to commit a felony with said tools. There are several items that could be considered burglary tools; however, common ones include lock picking kits, a crow bar, explosives, or even just a screwdriver. The intent to commit the felony determines the possession of burglary tools charge.

Contact Us Today for Help

With all the potential burglary charges possible in Illinois, you need an attorney who is well versed in all of the possibilities. Our passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can assist you throughout each step of your case. Contact us today to set up a consultation to find out how we can help you.

Sources:

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

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K19-3

FAQs About Burglary Tool Possession in Illinois

January 17th, 2018 at 9:32 am

burglary charge, burglary defense, burglary tool possession, Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer, unlawful possessionDid you know that possessing burglary tools is illegal in Illinois? This may come as a shock but burglary tool possession is a serious criminal offense that can be charged as a Class 4 felony in Illinois. However, burglary tool possession is one of those crimes that is rarely talked about and is frequently misunderstood. In order to clear up some of this confusion, a few frequently asked questions about burglary tool possession have been answered below in accordance with Illinois law.   

Q: What does it mean to illegally possess burglary tools?

A: Under code section 720 ILCS 5/19-2, a person commits the crime of unlawfully possessing burglary tools when he or she possess a tool, instrument, key, explosive, or device that can be used to break into a building (or a watercraft, house trailer, auto, railroad car, aircraft, or any structure designed to keep property safe) with the intent to enter and commit a felony or theft there within.

Q: How can I defend myself against a charge of possession of burglary tools?

A: If you have been charged with possession of burglary tools in Illinois, then the first step you should take when mounting your defense is to consult with a local criminal defense lawyer. An experienced lawyer will be able to evaluate the facts of your case and advise you about how to best proceed. If you choose to retain a lawyer,  he or she will likely argue on your behalf that you did not intent to commit a felony or theft once inside and that you were in possession of the tools at issue for a lawful purpose. However, it is important to note that your defense must be tailored to suit the facts of your case and that this is just an example of one commonly argued defense.  

Q: What is the punishment for being caught in possession of burglary tools?

A: In Illinois, being caught in possession of burglary tool is a Class 4 felony offense that is punishable by up to three years in prison and payment of a fine of up to $25,000. However, it is also possible that the offender may be sentenced to probation in lieu of serving time in prison. Therefore, anyone who has been accused of possessing burglary tools should talk with a local criminal defense lawyer without delay about how to best defend themselves and avoid serving time in prison if at all possible.

Q: I was charged with sale of burglary tools rather than possession of burglary tools, what does that mean?

A: The unlawful sale of burglary tools is a closely related crime to the unlawful possession of burglary tools; however, this crime is committed in Illinois when a person knowingly sells or transfers a key or lock pick that is designed or altered to be used for breaking into a building (or a watercraft, house trailer, auto, railroad car, aircraft, or any structure designed to keep property safe). Just like the unlawful possession of burglary tools, the unlawful sale of burglary tools also constitutes a Class 4 felony offense.

Need Legal Advice? Contact a Local Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with a burglary-related crime in Illinois, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today. Attorney Cosley is a highly regarded Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer who defends clients against a wide range of criminal charges across Illinois.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/072000050K19-2.htm

Home Invasion: An Illinois Crime Commonly Charged in Connection With Burglary

December 19th, 2017 at 9:02 am

burglary, home invasion, Illinois crime, residential burglary, aggravated batteryEarlier this month, a 56-year-old man was sentenced by Illinois Judge Thomas Berglund to serve 30 years in prison in connection with a home invasion that the offender confessed to committing earlier this year, reports The Register-Mail.

Reportedly, the homes invasion took place last spring when the offender entered the home of an 83-year-old man and hit the resident over the head with a metal desk lamp. The elderly victim suffered great bodily harm and was discovered by a neighbor two days after the incident occurred.

After admitting that this was in fact the course of events that took place, a negotiated plea agreement was reached in which two other charges (residential burglary and aggravated battery causing harm to someone over 60 years of age) were dismissed and the prosecution continued ahead with the home invasion charge for which the offender is now serving time.

The Crime of Home Invasion Under Illinois Law

Home invasion is a criminal offense that often goes hand in hand with burglary in Illinois. Under Illinois law, a burglary is committed when an individual remains in or enters a building or a vehicle which he or she does not have permission to enter or remain in with the intent to commit theft or a felony therein. However, if a burglar enters a dwelling and causes injury or threatens the use of force against someone therein, then he or she may have also committed the crime of home invasion.

Under section 720 ILCS 5/19-6 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes, the crime of home invasion is committed when a person (who is not a police officer doing their job) knowingly and without the authority to do so enters or remains in the dwelling of another while knowing, or having reason to know, that someone is in the dwelling and:

  • Has a dangerous weapon (that is not a firearm) that they use or threaten to against any person(s) present in the dwelling,
  • Intentionally injures any person(s) present in the dwelling,
  • Is armed with a firearm, uses or threatens force upon any person(s) present in the dwelling,
  • Uses or threatens to use force upon any person(s) present in the dwelling while personally discharging a firearm,
  • Personally discharges a firearm that causes permanent disability, great bodily harm, permanent disfigurement, or death to someone within the dwelling, or
  • Commits criminal sexual assault or criminal sexual abuse against any person(s) present in the dwelling.

However, it should be noted that under Illinois law anyone charged with the crime of home invasion has an affirmative defense if he or she immediately surrendered or left the premises upon realizing that one or more people were present in the dwelling that the alleged offender unlawfully entered or remained in.

Let Us Help You with Your Case

If you have been charged with home invasion in Illinois be sure to contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today. Under Illinois law home invasion is an extremely serious offense. In fact, home invasion is a Class X felony that carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 6 to 30 years. To discuss your legal options with an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer, contact our office today.

Source:

http://www.galesburg.com/news/20171211/burlington-man-receives-maximum-in-home-invasion-beating

Burglary: The Elements of the Offense in Illinois

September 13th, 2017 at 7:18 am

breaking and entering, burglary, burglary crime, Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer, Illinois criminal defenseBurglary is generally defined as the breaking and entering into the house of another for an unlawful purpose. However, it is important to note that burglary is one of those crimes that is defined slightly differently in each state.

In Illinois, breaking in is not a required element of burglary and there are several different listed entities beyond homes and structures that can be burgled. 

Illinois Statutes Section 19-1: Burglary

According to section 19-1 of the Illinois Statutes, an individual commits the crime of burglary when, without the authority to do so, he or she knowingly enters or remains within a building, watercraft, house trailer, aircraft, railroad car, motor vehicle, or any part thereof, while intending to commit theft or a felony therein. This statute can be broken down into the following key elements:

  • Knowingly Entering or Remaining: Some people mistakenly believe that an offender must physically break something to gain access (for example, a window) in order to commit the crime of burglary. However, in Illinois this is not the case. No physical breaking in is necessary. Instead, the offender must only knowingly enter or remain without the authority to do so. For example, if a teenager intentionally remains in a department store after closing, a court would likely find that he or she knowingly remained in a building without the authority to do so and has therefore fulfilled the knowingly enters or remains requirement of burglary.
  • Intending to Commit Theft or a Felony: This element of burglary is often the most difficult for the prosecution to prove as it speaks to the intent of the offender. In order to satisfy this element, the offender must have entered (or remained) in the building (or watercraft, house trailer, aircraft, etc.) while intending to commit theft or a felony while inside. For instance, if the teenager from the example above remained in the department store with the intent to steal merchandise, then a court would likely find that this second element of burglary has been satisfied.

But how can the prosecution prove that an alleged offender intended to commit theft or a felony? How can anyone know what was in the alleged offender’s mind at the time? For example, how do we know that the teenager intended to steal merchandise and was not just looking for a safe place to spend the night?

Proving criminal intent can be tricky but is generally established via either a confession or circumstantial evidence.

Reach Out to Us For Help

If you have been charged with burglary in Illinois, then the prosecution will need to prove each element discussed above in order to convict you. Therefore, it is critical that you retain an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer who is prepared to aggressively and skillfully defend you against each allegation put forth by the prosecution. Attorney Christopher Cosley, the sole attorney at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, is just such an attorney and would be happy to discuss your legal options with you.

Source:

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

The Difference Between Burglary and Robbery in Illinois

August 2nd, 2017 at 7:03 am

burglary and robbery, Class 1 felony, Rolling Meadows theft crimes defense attorneys, theft crimes, theft crimes defenseBurglary and robbery are legal terms that are commonly conflated. However, under Illinois law these terms refer to two distinct crimes. In a nutshell, a burglary occurs when a perpetrator enters a structure where he or she is not legally permitted to be with the intent to commit a crime therein, while robbery on the other hand occurs when force, fear, and/or intimidation is used to take property from the person of another. However, it is important to note that burglary and robbery are defined slightly differently in each state.

Illinois’ Definition of Burglary

The Illinois Compiled Statutes, under section 720 ILCS 5/19-1, defines burglary as knowingly entering, or remaining in, a building, watercraft, house trailer, aircraft, railroad car, or motor vehicle without the authority to do so, with the intent to commit a felony or theft therein. However, if the intended felony or theft involves damaging a vehicle, removing part of a vehicle, or tampering with a vehicle then the perpetrator likely has not committed burglary.

Under Illinois law, burglary is generally charged as a Class 2 felony; however, a burglary charge can be elevated to a Class 1 felony if the crime was committed in a day care center/home, school, or place of worship that is not conducted in a private residence.

Illinois’ Definition of Robbery

Under article 18 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes a robbery can be committed in any of the following three ways:

  1. Robbery: Knowingly taking the property (except a motor vehicle) from the person of another through the use of force or by threatening the imminent use of force;
  2. Aggravated Robbery: Committing an act of robbery (defined above) while either (1) indicating to the victim, either verbally or through action, that he/she is armed with a gun or some other dangerous weapon, or (2) delivering a controlled substance to the victim for a purpose that is not medical in nature; or
  3. Armed Robbery: Committing an act of robbery or aggravated robbery (defined above) while (1) in possession of a firearm or some other dangerous weapon, or (2) personally discharging a firearm during the commission of the offense.

Basic robbery is usually charged as a Class 2 felony in Illinois. However, if the victim was 60 years old or older or had a physical disability, or if the robbery was committed in a day care center/home, school, or place of worship then the robbery is elevated to a Class 1 felony. Additionally, aggravated robbery is also charged as a Class 1 felony. Furthermore, armed robbery can be charged as a Class X felony.

Reach Out to Us for Help

Successfully defending against a theft crime like burglary or robbery often takes a great deal of tact and skill as these crimes involve an intent/knowledge component. At The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, our experienced Rolling Meadows theft crimes defense attorneys are familiar with the various tactics used by prosecutors trying cases like these and know how to skillfully defend against them. If you have been charged with a theft crime in Illinois contact our Rolling Meadows office without delay so that our team can start building your defense as soon as possible.

Source:

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

Accused of Burglarizing a Store? Get a Criminal Defense Lawyer

May 3rd, 2017 at 8:10 am

burglarizing a store, Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense LawyerBurglary in Illinois involves someone knowingly entering a building without permission, and with the intent to commit a theft or a felony. One of the most common targets for acts of burglary are stores and shops.

From large retailers to small mom-and-pop type stores, virtually any type of store can be the target of a burglary or an attempted burglary. The main reason why a person commits a burglary of a store is usually to steal some piece of merchandise or to steal money. But what is interesting about the crime of burglary is that a burglar does not actually have to steal anything in order to commit the crime. Simply breaking into the store with the intent to steal something is enough to warrant a conviction for burglary.

Burglary is a Different Charge Than Theft or Shoplifting

Burglary is often charged when a person breaks into a store with the intent to steal something when the store is normally closed. Burglary could also be charged if a person remains in an open store after being asked to leave, or remains in a store in an off-limits area—in either case while having the intent to steal or commit a felony. Still, burglary is a different offense than theft or shoplifting.  

As a general rule, someone who is charged with burglary is not also charged with shoplifting, even if the person steals something during the burglary. Rather, he or she may be charged with burglary and theft, but each situation is unique and the exact charges will depend on the circumstances of the offense.

Shoplifting, on the other hand, is charged when someone steals merchandise from a store, alters the price of the item, or attempts to buy an item for less than its ticket price due to some sort of trickery (e.g., price tag swapping, or trying to trick the self-checkout scanner at the store). Shoplifting is usually associated with theft that occurs during normal business hours of the store’s operation.

Why You Need to Fight Your Criminal Charges

Whether you are facing burglary, theft, of shoplifting charges, it is important that you fight your criminal charges. If you are convicted of burglary, it is a Class 2 felony. If you are convicted of theft, it can be either a misdemeanor or a felony level offense. Similarly, depending on the circumstances surrounding the shoplifting, you could be convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony level offense.

A conviction will leave you with a criminal record, which can follow you around for many years, making it difficult to get some forms of employment or to rent an apartment. Hiring a criminal defense lawyer to fight for you will give you your best chance of defending yourself against the charges.

If you did commit the crime, then it is important to try and get the charges reduced, or dropped, and you will want to have a lawyer on your side to make sure that you receive fair treatment under the law.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

Burglary, theft, and shoplifting charges are nothing to be taken lightly. You need the help of an experienced and talented criminal defense lawyer with years of experience to fight the charges that are pending against you. Contact a passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at our office for assistance with your case.

Source:

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

Burglary of a Vehicle: Is it Considered a Break in if the Car Was Unlocked?

May 1st, 2017 at 8:20 am

burglary of a vehicle, Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense LawyerIt is not unheard of for people to get arrested for breaking into unlocked vehicles in Illinois. In these situations, the individual involved can be charged with a number of different criminal offenses based on the circumstances surrounding their activities.

Anyone who has been arrested and charged with a crime for entering an unlocked vehicle without the owner’s permission needs to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately. Your rights are in jeopardy and you need to take steps promptly to protect yourself.

Burglary of a Vehicle

One of the crimes that people who enter an unlocked vehicle without the owner’s permission often face is burglary of a vehicle. When a person knowingly enters a vehicle that he or she does not have permission to enter, and the perpetrator does so with the intent to commit a felony or a theft, it can constitute the offense of burglary of a vehicle. Many times, a vehicle is broken into in order to steal something valuable inside. Sunglasses, music players, cell phones, cash, and airbags are all common items that are stolen from unlocked vehicles. Burglary of a vehicle is a felony.

Regardless of the fact that the vehicle may have been unlocked, if you entered the vehicle without the owner’s permission and removed something from the vehicle with no intention of giving the removed item back to its rightful owner, you will likely face criminal charges of burglary of a vehicle.

  • You could have viable defenses that you could bring up at trial. For instance, perhaps you had permission or believed you had permission from the owner of the vehicle to enter the unlocked vehicle.
  • Perhaps you accidentally opened the vehicle and got inside because it was the same make and model as your own vehicle and you were mistaken that the vehicle was in fact not your own.
  • Maybe you had no intention to commit a felony or to steal anything when you entered the unlocked vehicle belonging to someone else.

You should discuss the facts of your particular situation with your lawyer to determine what defenses you may have available to you.

Criminal Trespass to a Motor Vehicle

You could also be charged with criminal trespass to a motor vehicle. Criminal trespass of a motor vehicle occurs when someone knowingly enters or operates a vehicle belonging to another without permission. It is a misdemeanor offense.

It is not uncommon for criminal defendants to adopt a defense strategy of getting their charges dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense. For someone who is charged with burglary of a motor vehicle, it might be a good strategy to try and get the charges reduced to criminal trespass to a motor vehicle instead. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with your criminal defense lawyer.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

You could be charged with a crime if you enter a vehicle without the owner’s permission, even if the vehicle was left unlocked. If you are facing criminal charges for breaking into an unlocked vehicle, you need to consult with an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer today.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K21-2

What Should You Do if You Are Charged with Burglary in Rolling Meadows?

April 3rd, 2017 at 8:14 am

burglary, Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense AttorneyIf you have been arrested and charged with burglary, you are most likely feeling scared and unsure about what you should do next. A few questions might run through your head, including:

  • What is going to happen to you?
  • Are you going to go to jail?
  • What will court be like?
  • Is there anything that you can do to fight your charges?

Being charged with a crime is overwhelming, and you likely do not have a background in criminal law. That is why you need an experienced burglary criminal defense lawyer to help you fight your charges. Your lawyer understands the criminal justice system and is familiar with what happens in criminal court. You need guidance and advice as you deal with your criminal charges, and a seasoned lawyer can help you.

What Constitutes Burglary and Residential Burglary in Illinois?

Under 720 ILCS 5/19-1, burglary is defined as when a criminal defendant enters property owned by someone else knowingly and without permission, and with the intent to commit a theft or a felony once inside the property. The property can include homes, garages, guest houses, apartments, sheds, and house trailers. However, it can also include vehicles like cars, boats, airplanes, and even railroad cars.

Breaking into someone else’s property to steal something or to commit a felony crime, like a sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, second domestic battery offense, or stalking, most likely constitutes burglary.

Burglary in and of itself is a Class 2 felony, which means that you will face felony level punishment for your felony level offense if you are convicted. But it is important to note that there is a distinction between burglary and residential burglary. Residential burglary involves the same elements as burglary except the property that is burglarized must be a home or dwelling and is codified under 720 ILCS 5/19-3. Residential burglary is a Class 1 felony.

Since burglary and residential burglary are felony offenses, it is critical that you have an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you fight your charges. A conviction for burglary most likely means significant jail time and a hefty fine, and you will undoubtedly be burdened with a criminal record that can haunt you for years to come. That is why it is so important that you work with a criminal defense lawyer to fight your burglary charges.

What Can Happen if You Are Convicted?

If you are convicted for burglary, you will more than likely face jail time, although it could be possible to be placed under court supervision, which means you will not go to jail. It is critical to work with a criminal defense lawyer to present your strongest possible defense and mitigating circumstances to the court. While the goal is to get the charges dismissed, getting reduced charges or a reduced sentence could also be a good strategy for your criminal defense case.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

A burglary charge in Illinois is a serious matter. Do not go up against your charges without the help of a lawyer. Please do not hesitate to contact a passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately for help with your case.

Source:

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

Homes and Cars Are Not the Only Places That Can be Burglarized

January 2nd, 2017 at 9:49 am

places that can be burglarized, Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense LawyerThe word burglary often brings to mind a masked person stealing money from a bank, breaking into a car, or stealing money, jewelry, or other property from a home. However, under Illinois law, burglary can occur in many other places. To limit your understanding of the crime of burglary to only homes and cars would be overly narrow and inaccurate.

Elements of the Crime of Burglary

It is considered burglary to break into and enter a place without permission, such as trailers, buildings, and motor vehicles. But burglary also includes other transportation vehicles, such as watercraft and aircraft, with the intent to commit theft of any other felony offense. When the location that is broken into is a home or other dwelling, i.e., a place where someone sleeps, it is considered residential burglary.

Burglary is not limited to physical breaking into a new building or vehicle. You do not have to force open a lock or break a window to gain access to a building or vehicle in order to constitute an entering for the purposes of burglary. Other ways of gaining entry into a building or vehicle may include:

  • Sneaking into the vehicle or building;
  • Further opening a cracked door or window so that you can get inside;
  • Lying or using trickery to gain access to the building or vehicle; or
  • Remaining inside a building or vehicle after you have been asked to leave, i.e., after a store has closed or after you were told to leave.

Burglary Charges Can be Upgraded

Burglary is a felony offense. As if a burglary charge is not bad enough, there are several circumstances where the charges can be upgraded to a more serious felony. For instance:

  • If the burglary is committed in a day care or child care facility, an elder care center, a school, or a place of worship, the burglary charge becomes a Class 1 felony;
  • If the burglary is committed on a residential dwelling while someone is home;
  • If you used a weapon during the commission of the burglary; and
  • If you cause injury to someone during the commission of the burglary.

Burglary charges are serious criminal offenses, and any person who is suspected of committing a burglary in Illinois needs to get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Intent to commit a felony or theft is a required element of burglary in order to be convicted. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will know how best to fight your charges, whether it is through a defense that you had permission to enter the building, vehicle or dwelling, or that you lacked the requisite intent to commit a crime or theft.

Let Us Help You Today

Since burglary is a felony criminal offense there are serious consequences for a conviction, which include—at the minimum—years of prison time, massive fines, and a criminal record.

When you are faced with burglary or residential burglary charges, please do not hesitate to contact a passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at our office for help.

Sources:

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

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K19-3

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