Why You Need an Skilled CRIMINAL LAWYER to DEFEND AGAINST Burglary Charges
Burglary charges are taken very seriously by Illinois prosecutors. In a way, this is understandable, as burglary can involve the invasion of privacy and a violation of the safety one feels in one’s own home. On the other hand, many cases that are charged as burglary are really nothing more than trespassing and/or theft charges. These offenses carry lower penalties and the proper legal presentation to prosecutors, judges and juries can mean the difference between felonies and misdemeanors, thousands of dollars in fines and months or years in jail or prison.
You could be charged with burglary even if a crime was not committed. For example, if the owner walked in before the crime was committed or if you entered someone’s car and simply moved personal belongings around.
Intent is a key aspect in any burglary case. First, the prosecution must establish intent as a basic element of committing a burglary. Burglary oftentimes involves a person entering another’s property or residence and taking something.
What most people don’t realize is that under the burglary statute (720 ILCS 5/19-1), you can be charged with burglary for entering or remaining, without permission, within a building, house-trailer, watercraft, aircraft, motor vehicle, or railroad car with intent to commit therein a felony or theft.
If a person enters a home and commits a felony or theft they will be charged with residential burglary (under 720 ILCS 5/19-3). Residential burglary is a very different situation from standard burglary and the law is much harsher. Residential burglary is a Class 1 felony, punishable by between 4-15 years in prison. It is also a non-probationable offense, which means the prison sentence is mandatory unless the charges are amended or reduced.
That’s why it’s imperative to have experienced, knowledgeable legal representation. If you’ve been charged with a residential burglary, call 773-791-9682.
Types of Burglary Charges in Chicago, IL
Burglary is defined as the act of entering a building without authority for the purpose of committing theft or any other crime. It’s critical to note that under Illinois burglary law, the definition of the term “building” is not limited to concrete structures alone. If a person enters a house-trailer, watercraft, aircraft, railroad car, freight container, or motor vehicle with the intent to commit theft or another felony, they can be charged with burglary.
The act of entering a person’s dwelling without their permission for the purpose of committing theft or any felony crime is considered residential burglary. As mentioned above, the definition of the term “dwelling” is not limited to apartments and residential complexes, but covers mobile homes, watercraft with living quarters, and recreational vehicles as well.
The primary difference between burglary and residential burglary is that a person can be charged with residential burglary only if they enter a person’s home with the intention of committing a crime. If the building or structure in question is vacant or uninhabitable, the offender can only be charged with burglary, not residential burglary. Similarly, if the alleged burglary occurred in a business establishment, it can only be considered commercial burglary, not residential burglary.
A home invasion is similar to a residential burglary, as it involves unlawfully entering someone’s dwelling to commit a felony offense. The difference is that home invasion involves a number of aggravating factors, which makes it an extremely serious criminal offense that carries severe penalties under Illinois law. These include:
- The individual or group of individuals entered the property with the knowledge that the residents are home.
- They had a firearm or other weapon in their possession.
- They threatened to use force against one or more of the residents.
- They used force or physically assaulted one or more of the residents.
- They threatened to fire a gun or fired a gun.
- They sexually assaulted one or more residents.
Criminal trespass is the act of entering someone’s property without the owner’s permission or knowledge. The difference between criminal trespass and burglary is that you can be charged with criminal trespass for simply entering someone’s property without authority – even if you had no intention of committing theft or other offense.
Possession of Burglary Tools
Possession of burglary tools is also considered a criminal offense under Illinois law, meaning the person in question intended to enter someone’s property using certain tools in order to commit theft or any felony offense. The term “burglary tools” refers to crowbars, slim jims, lock picks, acetylene torches, master keys, explosives, and any other key, tool, instrument, or device suitable for use in breaking into a building or any structure that meets the definition of a dwelling under Illinois law.
Even an all-purpose tool like a screwdriver (or a hammer, wrench, crowbar, and so on) can be considered a burglary tool if the person who possesses it intends to use it to break into someone’s property and steal something.
Unlawful Sale of Burglary Tools
The act of selling burglary tools to a third party.
How an Experienced Chicago Burglary Attorney Can Help You
One of the key legal elements to be established in a burglary case is the intent to commit theft or another felony offense. If the prosecuting attorney does not have sufficient evidence to prove intent, your burglary lawyer might be able to get your burglary charge dismissed or reduced to criminal trespass, which is a misdemeanor offense.
Similarly, if the prosecution’s case is largely based on eyewitness testimony, your Chicago burglary defense lawyer might be able to challenge the testimony or the credibility of the witness. On the other hand, if the evidence against you was obtained through unlawful means, your lawyer might be able to get the criminal case dismissed altogether.
If you have been charged with any form of burglary, contact the Law Office of Purav Bhatt as soon as possible. Our legal team, led by top-rated criminal defense attorney Purav Bhatt, will devise the most effective and aggressive defense strategy depending on the charges you are facing, the evidence against you, whether or not you have a criminal record, and several other factors. We will work diligently to make sure that your rights are fully protected.