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Archive for the ‘burglary’ tag

The Differences Between Theft, Robbery, and Burglary in Illinois

July 24th, 2019 at 10:10 am

IL defense lawyer, Illinois criminal defense attorney, Many people use the terms theft, robbery, and burglary when referring to theft crimes. While these crimes do have similarities, they also have their differences. Of these, the most significant are the penalties you will face if charged. Due to this, it is important you understand the differences between these different crimes.

Theft

The Illinois Criminal Code of 2012 defines three circumstances that could constitute theft. These include:

  • Unlawfully taking property that belongs to another person;
  • Taking property from another person through deception or threats; and
  • Gaining control of property you know is stolen,

Theft is classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If the property stolen was valued at $300 or less, and was not taken from someone’s person, it is a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, those charged face up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500.

When the property stolen is worth less than $300, but it was stolen directly from someone’s person, the crime is upgraded to a Class 3 felony. Theft is also charged as a Class 3 felony when the property stolen is worth between $300 and $10,000. This charge carries sentences of up to five years in state prison and a maximum fine of $25,000.

Theft of property valued between $10,000 and $100,000 is a Class 2 felony. The maximum sentence, if convicted, is a maximum of seven years in prison and a fine of $25,000. When the property stolen is worth more than $100,000, the crime is a Class 1 felony. A conviction can result in a maximum of 15 years in prison and a fine of $25,000.

Robbery

Robbery is a very similar crime to theft. It also involves taking property from a person. The difference with a robbery charge is that this crime also involves the use of force or the threat of force.

A robbery charge is upgraded to aggravated robbery when a person indicates to the victim, either verbally or non verbally, that they have a firearm. For example, if someone stole another person’s wallet while showing them a gun in their jacket, that is aggravated robbery.

Most robberies are charged as a Class 2 felony. If convicted, this charge carries a penalty of up to seven years in prison and a maximum fine of $25,000.

If the victim is older than 60 years old or has a disability, the crime is considered a Class 1 felony. Aggravated robbery is also charged as a Class 1 felony. Possible penalties include up to 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of $25,000.

Burglary

When people think of the term burglary, they typically think of a crime that involves some type of theft. That is not always necessarily the case, however.

According to 720 ILCS 5/19-1, burglary occurs when a person unlawfully enters a building with the intent to commit a felony or theft. If a person entered a building without permission with the intent to commit sexual assault, that would be considered burglary.

Burglary is always considered a felony and can be charged as a Class 3 to a Class 1 felony. If convicted, a person faces a possible five to 15 years in prison.

Call a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Lawyer that Can Help

Although theft, robbery, and burglary are all different crimes, they share one similarity. If convicted of any one of them, you could face serious jail time. If you have been charged with any of these crimes, call our skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys for help. At the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we will help you understand the charges you are facing, and try to get them reduced or dropped altogether. Call us today at 847-394-3200 or contact us online for your free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www2.illinois.gov/osad/Publications/DigestbyChapter/CH%2049%20Theft.pdf

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

 

When Does Burglary Become a Serious Felony?

April 18th, 2019 at 8:32 pm

Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois theft lawsRecently, thieves broke into a Lincoln Park bike shop. It is estimated that approximately $20,000 in merchandise was stolen. It was also the second time in the same month the shop was targeted. Police do not yet have anyone in custody for this latest crime that seems to be part of a rash of burglaries in the same neighborhood.

Some may consider this burglary, while others may consider the value of the goods stolen and think it is a burglary, but one with a more serious charge. The confusion begs the question, when does burglary become a serious felony in Illinois?

The Crime of Burglary in Illinois

Under Illinois law, burglary is defined as the act of entering a structure illegally with the intent to steal property or commit another serious felony. Normally, burglary is charged as a Class 2 felony, regardless of the amount of goods stolen. This means that the crime is always a felony.

Felonies are always considered more serious than misdemeanor crimes. The penalties for burglary in Illinois are severe, with those convicted facing anywhere from three to seven years, depending on the case. However, there are circumstances that can make felonies even more serious and increase the charge to a Class 1 felony.

When Burglary Becomes a Serious Felony

According to the legal statute, there are many structures that could amount to a burglary charge if someone breaks into them. Sheds, vehicles, aircraft, watercraft, and railroad cars are just a few of the structures outlined in the law. These would all fall under the category of Class 2 felonies, the lesser charge for burglary.

Certain structures can make a burglary a Class 1 felony, though. These include schools, daycares, or other child care centers. When these structures are broken into, the charge of burglary will increase and so too, will the penalties. The sentences for this crime if convicted is a maximum prison term of 15 years.

Other Factors Leading to Serious Felony Charges

In addition to defining the type of structure that was broken into, the prosecution will also take other factors into consideration. For example, if tools were used during the burglary, this can also lead to serious felony charges.

Considering that the thieves in the Lincoln Park bike shop case cut through the locks on the doors as well as the locks securing the stolen bikes in the store, it is reasonable to think they had these tools that will increase their charge if caught.

Those Charged Need the Help of a Burglary Lawyer in Rolling Meadows

Facing a charge of even a Class 2 felony has serious consequences. Those penalties become even more serious when the charge is increased. Anyone facing these accusations must speak to a dedicated Rolling Meadows burglary lawyer for help. If you have been charged with burglary, regardless of whether it is considered a Class 1 or Class 2 felony, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at 847-394-3200. There is a possibility that you could have your charges reduced, and we can provide you the strong defense you need. We also offer free consultations, so call today and we will begin discussing your case.

 

Sources:

https://abc7chicago.com/$20k-in-merchandise-stolen-from-lincoln-park-bicycle-shop/5144942/

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

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

Is Theft from a Garage Burglary?

December 12th, 2018 at 2:15 pm

IL defense lawyerBurglary is a serious felony offense, regardless of the value of the property taken, unlike theft, which is often a misdemeanor crime if the value of the property taken was low. For example, stealing a bike would be considered a misdemeanor of petty theft if the value of the bike was only $300, as per Illinois statute 20 ILCS 5/16-1. If that same bike was stolen out of someone’s residential garage, the crime would automatically be upgraded to a felony. Why is this? Burglary is considered a crime of violence, and the offense is punishable as such.

Types of Buildings, Structures, and Vehicles that Involve Burglary

Burglary is defined as knowingly entering, or without authority remaining, in any of the following:

  • Building;
  • House trailer (such as an RV);
  • Aircraft;
  • Watercraft; or
  • Motor vehicle.

The second element to burglary is that the defendant entered one of the above places or vehicles with the intent to commit any felony or any degree of theft. Examples of these felonies include arson, destruction of property, vandalism, assault, sexual assault, homicide, and more. Or, if any theft occurs or the defendant’s goal was to commit a theft, then burglary has occurred. As such, wandering into someone’s open garage to notify the owner that their car is being towed is not burglary. Breaking into their garage or entering it without permission to steal a bike or any other object is burglary.

Residential Burglary Is a Class 1 Felony

Committing burglary of a residential building, including a garage, is a Class 1 felony, punishable by four to 15 years in prison, as per Illinois 720 ILCS 5/19‑3.

Criminal Trespass Is a Class A Misdemeanor or a Class 4 Felony

Criminal trespass is a much lower level offense than burglary. The only elements that are different include that the defendant did not have any intention to commit, and did not commit, a felony or theft when the knowingly entered the residence of another person. Criminal trespass is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail if a defendant knowingly entered or remained in a residence (without intent to commit a felony or theft). If a defendant entered a residence and knew or had reason to believe that another person was in the residence, and the defendant remained in the home after knowing this, then the offense is raised to a Class 4 felony, punishable by one to three years in prison.

Reach Out to a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Attorney

Theft, burglary, and criminal trespass are all three very different crimes, with burglary being the most serious. If you have been charged with an offense, an attorney may be able to reduce the charges against you, have the charges dropped, fight for a fair plea deal, or take your case to court and win. Call the Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at 847-394-3200 to schedule a free consultation.

 

Source:

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

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

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

Crimes Against the Elderly Carry Increased Penalties in Illinois

November 10th, 2017 at 7:37 am

burglary, crimes against the elderly, criminal offender, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, sexual assaultA man accused of committing a series of crimes on both sides of the Illinois-Indiana border is facing various charges for which, if convicted, he will likely receive increased penalties because he targeted the elderly during his crime spree. The Chicago Sun Times reports that the alleged offender is being held in jail on multiple charges of sexual assault, burglary, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, and burglary resulting in bodily harm. The victims of these alleged crimes were predominantly elderly men and women and included a 97-year-old-woman and a 73-year-old man who were robbed outside of their home, and an 81-year-old woman who was robbed and sexually assaulted, among others.

Crimes Against the Elderly

Under Illinois law, crimes committed against the elderly (or the disabled) are considered to be more morally egregious than those committed against other people, and therefore are often punished more severely. In fact, when a crime is committed in Illinois against an elderly adult, the maximum prison sentence permissible for the crime committed can be extended. In some instances, prison sentences are doubled.

However, it is important to note that during the sentencing phase of a criminal case the victim’s age is only one aggravating factor that the presiding judge will consider when determining the offender’s sentence. During this process the judge will also give weight to additional aggravating factors that favor an increased sentence as well as to mitigating factors that weigh in favor of a reduced sentence.

The other aggravating factors that Illinois judges take into consideration when sentencing a criminal offender are listed in code section 730 ILCS 5/5-5-3.2(23) and include, but are not limited to the following:

  • The offender was paid to commit the crime,
  • The offender has a criminal history, and
  • Punishing the offender is needed in order to deter other people from committing the same offense.

Furthermore, the mitigating factors that sentencing judges in Illinois consider are contained in code section 730 ILCS 5/5-5-3.1 and include, but are not limited to the following:

  • The offender did not threaten or cause serious physical harm to his or her victim,
  • Based on his or her attitude and character, the offender is unlikely to commit a crime again in the future, and
  • The offender has a mental disability.

Charged With a Crime in Illinois? Contact a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a crime in Illinois, it is critical that you consult with a local criminal defense attorney about your legal options without delay. Regardless of whether or not you committed the illegal acts that you are accused of, it can make a world of difference having an experienced criminal defense attorney fighting to protect your legal rights.

To find out what a top tier Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney can do for you, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today. One of our experienced attorneys would be happy to discuss your case with you during a free initial consultation.

Source:

https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/elderly-woman-sexually-assaulted-during-robbery-in-lansing/

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

Is it Burglary, Theft, or Robbery?

May 10th, 2017 at 8:54 am

burglary, theft, robbery, Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense LawyerBurglary, theft, and robbery are serious crimes, and each one has distinctive characteristics. Illinois law is very specific in how it defines these crimes and it takes a knowledgeable Rolling Meadows defense lawyer to explain how the laws differ and what the difference means moving forward in your case.

  • Burglary is defined by Illinois law as entering the property of another, knowingly, and without permission, and with the intent to commit a theft or a felony once inside the property.  It is a common misconception that the property needs to be a home. Boats, cars, railroad cars, even airplanes can be burglarized.
  • Theft, as defined by Illinois law, is the unlawful or unauthorized taking of property from another person with the intent to permanently deprive that person of the property.
  • Robbery is the most serious of these three offenses and generally carries the most severe punishments. The reason for that is the violent nature of the offense. Robbery is basically theft accomplished through the use of force, or the fear of force.

Can a Theft Turn into a Robbery?

This is a question you will want to ask your experienced cook county criminal defense lawyer. Generally, the short answer is yes. Theft can turn into robbery the moment the victim is physically harmed or is put in fear of harm. A common example is a purse snatching incident. If a woman sets her purse down on a table and someone whisks by and takes it, a theft has occurred. However, if that person snatches the purse off of the same woman’s arm, it is likely to be charged as a robbery.

Does a Theft Have to Occur for a Burglary Charge?

The short answer is no. A burglary can occur without the actual theft of property. While most burglaries that are committed involve a theft of some sort, it does not have to happen in order for burglary to have happened in the eyes of the law. For example, if someone breaks into his or her neighbor’s home, sneaks in the kitchen, and makes pot brownies, among other crimes they have also committed a burglary.

Facing Criminal Charges?

If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, the first step you should take is to contact your experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer. Attorney Christopher M. Cosley has years of experience defending his clients rights when they have been charged with crimes. The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley is equipped with the resources necessary to minimize the damage of any criminal conviction and ensure that your rights guaranteed by the constitution are honored by the prosecution. Contact our Rolling Meadows office at 847-394-3200, 24 hours a day, to speak with our dedicated and relentless criminal defense lawyer.

Source:

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

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=61900000&SeqEnd=62600000

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

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