A night of drinking can lead to a variety of unexpected behavior. Sometimes drinking leads to domestic violence, other times it leads to DUI charges, and sometimes it leads to other drug use. In any event, drinking often leads a person to feel free and uninhibited, and sometimes utterly confused. An Illinois case that reached a verdict and sentencing this summer demonstrates how a night out of drinking leading to drunken confusion can also lead to charges for felony crimes, jail time and other consequences.

According to the Chicago Tribune, in September 2011, a young man spent a night out partying in the Harper College area, and ended up entering the unlocked home of a police sergeant. 21-year-old Kerin Ramirez, a college wrestler at Harper, walked into police sergeant Michael Peters’ home at about 7:00am on a Saturday morning after leaving a house party. In his drunken state, Mr. Ramirez believed that he was returning to the house in which the party was being held. However, when Mr. Ramirez confronted officer Peters, the scene took a turn for the worst.

When Mr. Ramirez encountered officer Peters, he refused to leave the home and the two began to fight. A neighbor engaged in the fight between officer Peters and Mr. Ramirez, while Mr. Peters went to retrieve his gun from his car. Mr. Peters then shot Mr. Ramirez in the stomach, which ended the fight. After being discharged from the hospital, Mr. Ramirez spent 18 months in prison on criminal trespass and home invasion charges.

After a bench trial, Judge George Bakalis found Mr. Ramirez guilty of criminal trespass, but not home invasion. Mr. Ramirez was ultimately sentenced this Thursday to twenty-four months of probation. Additionally, Judge Bakalis ordered Mr. Ramirez not to consume alcohol.

 Illinois Criminal Law

Mr. Ramirez was fortunate that the judge did not find him guilty on the home invasion charges. Home invasion is a serious felony crime under Illinois law, and is punishable by a jail sentence that can range from 15 years to natural life, depending on the circumstances of the particular case. Under 720 ILCS 5/19-6, home invasion can be committed in several ways. For example, three of those ways include the following conduct:

(1) A person is guilty of home invasion if he or she enters a dwelling place of another person without authority when he or she knows or has reason to know that another person is present, and he or she is not a peace officer acting in the line of duty;

(2) A person commits home invasion if he or she enters the dwelling place of another without authority and remains in that place until he or she knows or has reason to know that one or more persons is present; and

(3)A person commits home invasion if he or she falsely represents him or herself as a government, construction, telecommunications, or utility worker to gain entry to the home, and he or she is either armed with a dangerous weapon, causes injury to any persons in the dwelling, or uses force or imminent force against a person while armed with a firearm.

Home invasion and other felony crimes are seriously prosecuted in Illinois. If you have been charged with violating Illinois criminal laws, you should immediately seek out the assistance of an experienced attorney. Call the experienced attorneys at Goldman & Associates today for a confidential consultation.