Theft can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on factors like the value of property stolen and whether a weapon was used. Burglary, on the other hand, is a felony in Illinois, whether it is committed on a residential dwelling, a business, or even a vehicle. While the motivation for burglary is often to steal property found inside, the intention to do so is not required for a burglary conviction. Burglary is a very serious charge in Illinois. If you are convicted, you are very likely to face time in jail or prison. The differences between burglary, theft, and trespassing may be relatively minor, but the difference in sentencing between these offenses can be serious. If you are facing burglary charges, it is important to take the situation very seriously and find a skilled criminal defense attorney. You may have options, such as plea bargaining to reduce your charges.
Defining the Offense of Burglary
There are multiple types of burglary charges in Illinois. Both are felonies. The first is residential burglary, which involves unlawfully entering another person’s dwelling place, which is a Class 1 felony. Burglary on a business and burglary on a motor vehicle are both Class 3 felonies. Breaking in is not required to sustain a burglary sentence. The standard is whether the entry was lawful. Even if the alleged victim had left their door unlocked or a window wide open, you can still be charged with burglary if you did not have permission to enter.
The other important factor is what you intended to do after entering. There are two types of intentions that can sustain a burglary conviction. The first is the intent to steal property of any value located inside the structure. However, unlawfully entering with the intention of committing any other felony once inside can also be enough to convict you. For example, breaking into a house intending to commit a felony assault against someone inside, or to commit arson, would both fall under the legal definition of burglary.
Burglary vs. Theft and Robbery
There can be a bit of a fine line between burglary, theft, and robbery. Taking property from the outside of a residence or business is likely to be considered mere theft, as there is no unlawful entry into the structure. However, even entering an enclosed patio can lead to burglary being charged instead. Robbery involves stealing property in the presence of another by force or threat of force. Burglary and robbery may occur simultaneously when an occupied business or dwelling is invaded.
Contact a Naperville Burglary Attorney
The experienced Naperville burglary attorneys at [[title]] will do all we can to see your burglary charges resolved in a way that serves your best interests. To begin with a free consultation, contact us at [[phone]].