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Archive for the ‘breaking and entering’ tag

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

Burglary: It Is Not Just Breaking and Entering

January 21st, 2015 at 10:41 am

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal law statutes, Illinois criminal lawyer,Thanks to police procedural shows and courtroom dramas, the public has a lot of ideas about what the law is and what it is not. Unfortunately, since every state has different laws and television writers are not bound to accurately represent any of them, sometimes these ideas about the law can be mistaken. This can be particularly problematic when it comes to criminal law. One example of a crime that is often misconstrued is burglary.

So What is Burglary?

Most people think of burglary as breaking into a house or business to steal something. And this is, in fact, correct: that would be a burglary. But in Illinois, the crime of burglary includes much more than those two possibilities. Like all state crimes in Illinois, burglary is defined by statute. According to the state statute:

A person commits burglary when without authority he or she knowingly enters or without authority remains within a building, housetrailer, watercraft, aircraft, motor vehicle, railroad car, or any part thereof, with intent to commit therein a felony or a theft.

This means two things. First of all, burglary is not just about breaking into buildings. In Illinois one can commit burglary in planes, trains, automobiles, and a whole host of other areas. The other important thing that most people do not realize is that burglary does not have to be about stealing something. While intent to commit a theft is sufficient to make the crime a burglary, it is not the only way. An intent to commit a felony while one is unlawfully in one of the covered areas is also sufficient to make the crime a burglary. What, then, is a felony? A different Illinois statute defines a felony as “an offense for which a sentence to death or to a term of imprisonment in a penitentiary for one year or more is provided.” Thus, an intent to commit a serious crime is enough. For example, breaking into someone’s airplane to commit an aggravated battery would count as a burglary. It is important to note, however, that if the underlying crime is theft, the theft does not have to be a felony theft. Any sort of theft is enough to constitute a burglary.

Residential Burglary

There is a crime in Illinois called “residential burglary” that is closer to what people may commonly think of as burglary. This crime requires the unlawful entry into or remaining in the dwelling place of another in order to commit the theft or felony. One type of residential burglary occurs when a person falsely represents him or herself to be a government representative or utility worker to gain access to someone’s dwelling in order to commit a theft or a felony.

Call us Today

If you or a loved one is charged with burglary, or any other criminal offense, you will need the assistance of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. That is why you should call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Our phone number is (847)394-3200

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