Many people mistakenly believe that burglary is identical to theft. While there is a good deal of overlap in the definitions, it is important to understand the differences if you or a loved one has been charged with the offense.
The legal definition, found under 720 ILCS 5/19-3, includes several key components:
“A person commits residential burglary when he or she 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..”
There are 3 main criteria which must be adequately proven within the court of law in order to bring a residential burglary conviction. It must be proven that the entry was both intentional and not permitted. It must be an official residential property. Finally, it must be demonstrated that the defendant had express intent to commit a felony within the residence, such as theft or rape. When no felony has been committed and the defendant did not possess any weapons or other objects that signal intent, it can be very difficult to prove that a criminal trespass charge should be elevated to residential burglary.
A competent and aggressive lawyer can examine the details of the case and explore the best potential defense. If you have been subjected to a residential burglary charge, do not hesitate any longer. The sooner you contact us, the better your chances of having your charge dropped or reduced.
Residential burglary carries the most serious penalties among the burglary crimes. As a Class 1 felony, it is one step below the most serious felony charge (Class X). It is punishable by 4 to 15 years in state prison and/or a fine up to $25,000.
Depending on the details of the case, it is highly possible that further charges and their respective penalties can be leveled against the defendant, including possession of burglary tools.
Of course, a felony conviction will result in life-altering consequences beyond the steep prison sentence and expensive fines that must be paid. It will cause great difficulty in securing gainful employment, receiving further education, and finding a decent place to live.
You have numerous rights guaranteed by law, and if any of these rights have been violated in regards to your case, it is possible to have the case dismissed. A zealous attorney will comb over the specifics of your case to ensure that every possible defense strategy is considered to achieve the best possible outcome.
Another viable strategy is to challenge the claim that the illegal entry was made with the intent to commit a felony. Depending on the specifics of your case, it may be very difficult for a prosecutor to demonstrate that beyond reasonable doubt. Accordingly, it may be possible to avoid a felony charge. Criminal trespassing is a misdemeanor, and as such, it carries less serious consequences.
Kerr & Schmiege are nationally recognized criminal defense lawyers for DuPage County, including the cities of Wheaton, Naperville, Aurora, Westmont, Oak Brook, and Lombard. Give your future the best chance with our highly skilled defense strategies and understanding of prosecutor tactics. Contact us immediately to ensure your rights are upheld to the fullest extent of the law.
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