The terms burglary, breaking and entering, robbery, and theft often get used interchangeably, and some confusion about the meaning of the terms exists. If you have been charged with burglary, you are probably unsure of what will happen next or what punitive consequences you may face. Read on to learn about burglary charges in Illinois and how a criminal defense attorney can help you fight these charges.
Burglary Occurs When Someone Trespasses with Intent to Commit a Crime
The Illinois Criminal Code provides the technical definition of burglary. “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 theft.” Put simply, a person who enters or remains on another person’s property without permission and intends to steal something or commit another crime on that property is committing burglary. Someone who breaks into a property but does not attempt to steal something or has no other criminal intent will usually only be charged with trespassing or another lesser crime.
A Prosecutor Must Prove Awareness and Intent
In order for a defendant to be convicted of burglary, a state prosecutor must demonstrate that the defendant entered a property without permission or refused to leave the property after he or she no longer had permission to be there. Furthermore, the prosecutor must show that the defendant knowingly entered the property, meaning that he or she was aware of his or her actions and had intent to commit theft or another felonious crime on the property. Burglary of a non-residential building, boat, car, or aircraft is generally considered a Class 2 felony. Burglary of a residential home, school, church, or other place of worship is usually a Class 1 felony.
Penalties and Sentences
Someone convicted of burglary as a Class 2 Felony potentially faces imprisonment for three to seven years and a fine of up to $25,000. A person convicted of burglary as a Class 1 felony faces the same steep fine and may be imprisoned for four to fifteen years. Those defendants with a prior criminal history may face higher sentences. In some cases, a judge may find probation to be a more appropriate punishment than jail time.
If you have been accused of burglary, do not try to face the prosecution alone. For legal advice you can trust, contact one of the skilled Elgin criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola. Call 847-488-0889 today to schedule a free, confidential consultation of your case.