If you are facing charges of residential burglary in Illinois, you could suffer serious penalties if you are convicted. Read this post to learn how residential burglary is defined in Illinois, what penalties you could face, and how an experienced attorney can help you fight back.
Residential Burglary in Illinois
Under Illinois state law, residential burglary is defined in two ways:
“A person commits residential burglary when he or she knowingly and without authority enters or knowingly and without authority remains within the dwelling place of another, or any part thereof, with the intent to commit therein a felony or theft.”
“A person commits residential burglary when he or she falsely represents himself or herself, including but not limited to falsely representing himself or herself to be a representative of any unit of government or a construction, telecommunications, or utility company, for the purpose of gaining entry to the dwelling place of another, with the intent to commit therein a felony or theft or to facilitate the commission therein of a felony or theft by another.”
(720 ILCS 5/19-3) (from Ch. 38, par. 19-3)
Examples of residential burglary include the following:
- Entering your neighbor’s home with the intent to steal a computer or television
- Entering your family member’s home with the intent to start a fire
- Entering a stranger’s home with the intent to commit identity theft
To be convicted for burglary, the prosecution has the burden of proving that you entered into a residence illegally and that you intended to commit a crime while inside. “Entering” is defined quite loosely, as well – even if all you did was extend your arm, leg, or an object inside a residence, that may be enough evidence to constitute a burglary charge provided you did it intentionally and for the purposes of committing a theft or felony.
Serious Penalties for Illinois Burglary
Residential burglary is categorized as a Class 1 felony in Illinois. If convicted, you will face a sentence of four to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. With consequences this serious, it’s important to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as charges are filed against you.
A felony conviction stays on your permanent record. It can have a negative impact on your ability to find employment, secure loans, or obtain quality housing. Convicted felons lose the right to bear arms or vote. You may not be eligible for certain licensing if you have a felony conviction.
To avoid these penalties, you must fight back with the help of an attorney, who may be able to get your charges reduced or dropped.
Avoiding the Penalties Associated with an Illinois Residential Burglary Conviction
Here are a few defense strategies a skilled Chicago criminal attorney may use to help you fight your burglary charges.
- You have a solid alibi.
- You had permission to enter the property.
- You had no intent to commit a crime while on the property.
- The prosecution cannot produce enough evidence against you.
- You were entrapped by law enforcement officials.
- Someone threatened harm to you or your loved one unless you committed burglary.
Will any of these defense strategies work for you? That’s hard to say without knowing the specific details of your case. With penalties as severe as the ones attached to residential burglary, though, you have to try.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes.