Crimes can be categorized into one of two major categories: crimes against individuals and crimes against property.  One of the more common property crimes that often occurs in the Chicagoland area is burglary. Many people are under the mistaken impression that burglary requires that perpetrator to unlawfully take another’s property. Under Illinois law, the actual taking of property is not required for a person to be charged with burglary, and a burglary case may even be brought against a person if they had no intention of stealing anything at all. Because of the potentially serious legal consequences a burglary suspect may be facing, it is important for anyone accused of burglary to discuss their case with a Chicago criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. The early intervention of an attorney can often significantly affect the outcome of a case, and an attorney may even be able to have the completely dropped.

The Illinois Burglary Statute

Illinois’ burglary law can be found in ILCS 5/19, and makes it illegal to knowingly enter or remain in a building, railroad car, watercraft, aircraft, motor vehicle, or horsetrailer without authority with the intention of committing a theft or a serious crime. In other words, a person does not need to actually commit an additional crime, but only must have the intent to do so. In addition, while most burglary involves the taking of property, the intention to commit any other serious crime is sufficient. For example, a person who entered another person’s home with the intent of causing serious bodily harm could potentially be accused of burglary in addition to the violent act that may or may not have actually occurred. Illinois law also criminalizes the possession of burglary tools. The statute allows a judge or a jury to draw an inference of intent to sufficient to support a burglary charge if a person is found with a device intended to pick a lock.

Penalties for Burglary in Illinois

Burglary is taken very seriously by Illinois authorities, and may result in serious criminal penalties in the event that you are convicted. These may include probation, fines, restitution, and even jail time. In addition, if a burglary takes place in a daycare center or home, or in a place of worship, the offense is treated even more seriously. Fortunately, there are many potential defenses an experienced attorney may be able to raise in an Illinois burglary case that may mitigate or even eliminate any legal consequences that you face. In some cases, additional evidence can be introduced that may negate one of the legal elements required to support an accusation of burglary. The exact defense or defenses appropriate to raise in your case will depend significantly on the specific facts at hand, so it is important to discuss your situation with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Contact a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

Anyone facing a burglary case in Illinois should retain a criminal defense lawyer immediately. Call Goldman & Associates today at (773) 484-3131 or (847) 215-2600 to schedule a free consultation.