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Rolling Meadows Burglary Defense Lawyer

Rolling Meadows Burglary Robbery Defense Lawyer

Criminal Defense Attorney for Burglary Charges in Cook County and DuPage County

To convict someone of the crime of burglary, the state must prove that the accused entered any part of a building or vehicle (e.g., boat, airplane, car, truck, train car) knowingly and without authority, or remained without authority after entering lawfully (e.g., hiding until a public building was closed for the night), with the intent to commit a felony or theft therein.

The crime of burglary is distinct from robbery, which involves theft directly from another person by force or threat. Burglary is also distinct from criminal trespassing, because burglary requires an intent to commit a felony (e.g., sexual assault or arson) or theft.

The prosecution bears the burden of proving criminal intent. Criminal intent is typically inferred based on the accused's conduct, such as being caught in possession of burglary tools, witness testimony of suspicious behavior, or security video showing the accused trying to open locked cabinets or gathering items to steal.

At Hartsfield Law, we understand that a person might wind up charged with burglary for any number of reasons, such as curiosity or thrill-seeking, peer pressure or a dare, intent to recover one's own property that is being held by another, financial deprivation, mental illness, or the influence of drugs or alcohol. Regardless of the reason, and regardless of the value of anything taken or damaged, burglary in Illinois is a felony--an offense that can have a long-term impact on your life. Whatever your circumstances, you can rely on the staff at Hartsfield Law to provide a skillful and aggressive defense.

Consequences of Burglary in Illinois

Under Illinois state law, any type of burglary is a felony, but the class of felony depends on how serious the offense is.

  • Burglary without property damage is a Class 3 felony. In this type of crime, the accused may have entered through an unlocked door or window.
  • Burglary causing damage is a Class 2 felony. This would include what is commonly known as breaking and entering, where a door or window is broken in order to obtain entry, as well as any damage done after entry (e.g., breaking into a locked compartment in a car or a locked cabinet in a building).
  • Burglary of a school, child care center, or place of worship is a Class 1 felony (720 ILCS 5/19-1).
  • Burglary of another's dwelling place (residence) is a Class 1 felony (720 ILCS 5/19-3).

The definition of residential burglary includes more than the usual breaking of a window or door to gain entry. Residential burglary is also committed when someone pretends to be a representative of a government agency, or of a telecommunications company, utility, or construction company, in order to gain entry to a residence with the intent to commit (or help another person commit) a felony or theft therein. Note that a resident need not be present in the dwelling at the moment of the crime for the charge of residential burglary to apply. Even a vacation home that is only occasionally occupied still qualifies as a residence.

The possible prison sentences are two to five years for a Class 3 felony, three to seven years for Class 2, and four to 15 years for Class 1. Prior offenders may face even longer sentences. Even if the judge issues a sentence of probation in place of prison time, the probation period can last up to four years, during which time numerous restrictions are placed on the offender. The judge can also levy fines and require an offender to pay restitution to the victim for property lost or damaged.

Defenses to the Crime of Burglary in Illinois

There are a number of arguments that can be raised in defense of a burglary charge, including but not limited to:

  • The individual had permission from the owner to enter and/or remain in the building or vehicle.
  • The individual entered an open business or public building with an intent consistent with the purpose of that business or building, not with the intent of committing a felony or theft.
  • There was a "breaking" of a lock or window, but no actual "entering" of the building or vehicle.
  • The charge should be reduced to misdemeanor trespassing, because, while there was unauthorized entry, there is insufficient proof of criminal intent, and no damage was caused.
  • The charge of residential burglary should be reduced to burglary because the space was vacant.

Of course, each individual case is unique. Anyone charged with burglary should work closely with their attorney to develop the ideal defense strategy.

For a Skilled Burglary Defense, Consult a Rolling Meadows Lawyer

A conviction for felony burglary can mean a minimum of three years in prison. Do not face such charges alone. An aggressive attorney will force the prosecution to prove every element of their case, in addition to developing strong evidence in your defense. For legal counsel in Cook or DuPage County, consult a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, with offices in Chicago and Oakbrook Terrace. Call Hartsfield Law today at 312-345-1700.

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