Recently, there have been a number of residential burglary charges filed in Chicago where the defendants were hit with multiple counts.
What does that mean?
In this post, we’ll describe the residential burglary laws in Illinois and their penalties – including how multiple counts work, and what you can do to protect your rights if you are charged with this crime.
First let’s look a couple of those recent cases.
Recent Chicago Burglary Cases
In mid-January, two burglaries occurred on the Northwest Side of Chicago in the Budlong Woods area. Police are looking for suspects in these cases, which involved breaking into homes through the front door before stealing items inside. The two incidents happened only blocks from one another. If the same individuals are arrested for both burglaries, they could face multiple counts and additional penalties.
In another case, two individuals were charged with burglarizing homes in the Riverside area. Vincent A. Lamanna, 21, and Laura L. Sandora, 46, confessed to committing a series of burglaries in the area in January. Several area residents filed reports of break-ins and theft of jewelry and cash.
Lamanna was charged with two counts of residential burglary along with other charges of criminal trespass and possession of drug paraphernalia. Sandora was also charged with two counts of residential burglary, in addition to various drug possession charges.
Definition of Residential Burglary
According to the Illinois statutes, residential burglary is committed when an individual “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.”
An individual also 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.”
Penalties for Residential Burglary and the Problem of Multiple Counts
Residential burglary is a Class 1 felony in the state of Illinois. This is a serious charge which can result in 4-15 years of prison time and up to $25,000 in fines if an individual is convicted on the charges.
Facing multiple counts of residential burglary puts you in a serious legal bind – especially if you have a prior criminal history. The judge will consider these elements when setting your bail. Your bail amount will likely be significantly higher with multiple counts and/or prior criminal history. Expect a normal bail amount to be up to four times higher with multiple counts.
Your multiple counts will normally be combined into single court appearances for all the charges at once. The judge will look at your most serious charge and address it first.
Several outcomes could potentially result. You might be found not guilty on all counts and face no penalties for your charges. You could be convicted for some counts but not others, and receive penalties only for the convictions. Or you might be convicted on all counts, which would likely result in incredibly severe consequences.
How severe? According to the judge’s discretion, you may receive a unique sentence for each of your charges, and these sentences can be served concurrently or consecutively – meaning, say, you finish one 15-year prison term and go straight into the next one.
Additionally, when you are facing felony charges for residential burglary, you can expect that the maximum sentence will be issued on each of your charges.
Get Legal Help for Multiple Counts
It’s essential for you to contact an experienced Chicago felony crimes attorney as soon as charges are filed against you. When you are facing multiple counts of a certain crime, or multiple counts of one crime and additional charges for other crimes, you need someone by your side who has successfully handled cases like these before.
A knowledgeable criminal lawyer will assess the details of your case and form the best possible defense for you. It’s possible that multiple counts could be reduced to lower sentences. Your attorney may be able to work out a plea bargain to shorten your incarceration time.
Bottom line? Multiple count cases are complex, and you will benefit from the help of a seasoned attorney.
No matter how many counts you are facing, give us a call for a free, no-obligation consultation. With our help, you can receive the best possible outcome for your case. Don’t wait to call us today and schedule an appointment.
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.