Chicago Property Crime Lawyer
Arrested for a Property Crime in Chicago?
Contact Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Josh Adams if you have been arrested for a burglary or property crime in Illinois.
Illinois lawmakers have enacted laws criminalizing burglary (entering a building intending to commit a crime inside), home invasion (entering an inhabited dwelling and causing injury or using or threatening force while armed), and trespass (entering a person’s property without permission). Some of these crimes carry very stiff penalties.
Traditionally, a burglary was defined as breaking and entering into a home at night with the intent to commit a felony inside. Today, most states have done away with these requirements and a person commits burglary by entering into any building without permission with the intent to commit a crime inside.
In Illinois, a person commits the crime of burglary by entering or remaining in a building or vehicle (or any part of a building or vehicle) without permission with the intent to commit theft or a felony (a crime punishable by a state prison term). Burglary is punished more severely if the building is a:
Daycare center, or
Place of worship.
(720 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/19-1.)
Illinois also has a law criminalizing residential burglary, which is entering or remaining in someone else’s dwelling without permission in order to commit theft or a felony inside. A person who breaks into a home intending to steal a television commits residential burglary.
Residential burglary and burglary are mutually exclusive offenses, which means that a defendant commits one or the other, based on the nature of the burglarized building. The offense can also be committed by someone pretending to be an employee of the government, a construction company, or a utility company, in order to commit a crime inside a dwelling.
A dwelling is a house, apartment, mobile home, trailer, or other place in which a person lives or soon intends to live. For example, vacant and uninhabitable buildings are not dwellings, but an RV in which a person lives is a dwelling, as is a new home ready for occupancy. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/19-3.)
Intent to commit a crime
In order to convict people of burglary, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they entered the building with the intent to commit a crime inside. In most cases, the defendant’s illicit intention can be inferred from the circumstances, and the prosecutor is not required to establish exactly what was going through the defendant’s head.
For example, if two people break down the door of a home and take a television and laptop, the jury could infer that the people entered the home to commit a crime. Even if police stopped the people before they escaped with the stolen goods, they could still be convicted of burglary (and attempted theft). The crime of burglary occurs as soon as the defendant enters into the building or vehicle with the illicit intent, even if the intended felony or theft never occurs.
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