Are you facing criminal charges for burglary in Chicago? A criminal conviction will change your life forever, so it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as you can.
Call the Kostopoulos Law Group today to find out how we can help you fight the criminal charges you face. Our skilled Chicago burglary defense attorneys have more than three decades of combined legal experience and know how to achieve the best possible outcome in your criminal case. We use an aggressive pre-investigative process and are often able to get the charges against our clients reduced or dismissed.
Burglary Laws – 720 ILCS 5/19-1
In Illinois, it is a crime to enter property without permission with the intent to commit a crime. When that intent is to commit a theft or felony, you can face charges for burglary. Burglary, as defined in 720 ILCS 5/19-1, occurs when you enter or remain in a “building, trailer, watercraft, aircraft, or motor vehicle without consent with the intent to commit a felony or theft.”
When you are charged with burglary in Chicago the prosecution must be able to prove that you are guilty of each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that they must prove:
- You entered property belonging to another person
- Without that person’s permission; and
- You had the specific intent to commit a felony or theft once inside the property.
Residential Burglary – 720 ILCS 5/19-3
Since a person’s home is their safe space, the charges for burglary are aggravated when the target property is another person’s home. Residential burglary, as defined in 720 ILCS 5/19-3, occurs when you knowingly enter another person’s dwelling without permission with the intent to commit a felony or theft once inside. In simpler terms, a residential burglary is any burglary that is committed at a home. It does not matter whether that home is occupied at the time of the crime.
Entering Without Permission
In order to be guilty of residential burglary, you must enter another person’s home without permission.
It is important to know that obtaining consent by deceit is will still satisfy this element of the crime. Imagine, for example, that you impersonate a government or utility worker and convince a person to let you into their home. This person has only given you permission to enter their home because you deceived them. Since their consent is not based on the truth, you will still be considered to have entered their home without permission. If you fraudulently gain access to their home with the intent to commit a crime or felony, you will face charges for residential burglary.
Intent to Commit a Felony or Theft
Simply entering another person’s property without permission is not enough to satisfy the elements of burglary. In order to be convicted of burglary, you must have the specific intent to commit a felony or theft once you are inside.
How is this specific intent proven? Prosecutors may use any of the following pieces of evidence to prove that you entered with the intent to commit a crime:
- Presence of tools commonly used in a burglary (e.g., lock pick, screwdriver, tape);
- Video footage or photographs of the crime;
- Eyewitness testimony; and/or
- Possession of stolen items.
Criminal Penalties for Burglary
Burglary, as defined in 720 ILCS 5/19-1 and 5/19-3, is always a felony offense in Chicago. The severity of the charge you face will depend on the type of property you targeted and your criminal record.
Commercial Burglary: A burglary of a building, trailer, watercraft, aircraft, or motor vehicle is a Class 2 Felony, punishable by 3-7 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
Residential Burglary: A burglary of an occupied dwelling is a Class 1 Felony, punishable by 4-15 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
Aggravated Burglary: A burglary of a school, day care center, day care home, group day care home, part-day child care facility, or place of worship is a Class 1 Felony, punishable by 4-15 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
In addition to jail time and tens of thousands of dollars in criminal fines, you may also be required to pay restitution to your victim, serve a sentence of probation, and/or complete mandatory counseling.
Defending Burglary Charges in Illinois
When you are charged with a crime in Chicago you have the right to defend yourself by asserting any argument that can help to explain or excuse your alleged behavior. When these arguments are successful the prosecution will have a more difficult time proving that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. We will use this as leverage to negotiate a reduction or dismissal of the charges in your case. Defenses that may be helpful in your Chicago burglary case include:
- Mistaken identity;
- False accusation;
- You had permission to enter the property;
- You lacked the specific intent to commit a felony or theft; and/or
- Unlawful search, seizure, or arrest.
Speak with a Chicago Burglary Attorney Today
Have you been charged with a crime of burglary in Chicago? Call the Kostopoulos Law Group today for help. If you are convicted of a felony your future will be changed forever. When you have a criminal record it is incredibly difficult to find a job, rent a home, and care for your family. In many cases, you will no longer be able to own a gun and may even lose the right to participate in government welfare programs. If courts believe that you pose a threat to your family, you may even lose custody or visitation rights for your children.
You have the power to fight the criminal burglary charges against you, and the Kostopoulos Law Group can help. Our Chicago criminal defense attorneys have more than 30 years of combined legal experience and have successfully handled thousands of complex criminal matters, including those for burglary. We know that your future is on the line and will do everything in our power to secure the best possible outcome in your case. Call us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more.