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The Difference Between Theft, Burglary, and Robbery Charges in Illinois

Joliet theft burglary robbery lawyer

The terms theft , burglary, and robbery are often used synonymously and interchangeably in daily conversation, but the three are not the same. While your friends and family understand it to mean that items were taken without knowledge or approval, in a court of law, these terms indicate various behaviors and thus carry a variety of punishments upon conviction. If you are facing any theft crime charges, it is important to understand the difference and how they can impact your future.


Believe it or not, you do not have to take anything to face burglary charges. You simply need to enter into an area in which you did not have authorization. What makes burglary any different than trespassing? The most basic difference is the offender’s intent. The prosecution has the burden of proving that you intended to commit a felony or steal something. If they can demonstrate that you had intent, a conviction is a Class 2 felony which carries a prison sentence of three to seven years. If the break-in with intent occurred at a protected facility, such as a church or daycare, the penalty bumps up to a Class 1 felony with a mandatory four-year prison sentence but potentially up to 15 years. Either way, a fine of up to $25,000.00 may be applicable.


Theft is knowingly taking someone’s property without consent. Theft does not need to occur within a home necessarily and is chargeable if someone receives stolen goods, even if they paid for it and had no idea it was owned illegally. The severity of the charge range anywhere from petty theft misdemeanors up to felony charges. The level of the theft class is directly proportional to the dollar amount of the stolen goods. Sentences range from jail time of less than a year and a fine of up to $2,500.00 up to the most severe at 15 years serving time in the state penitentiary and a fine of up to $25,000.00.


Robbery is taking something from someone by force, like a purse or money from someone’s possession. Only taking it is theft, but if they felt threatened or there was mention of force if they did not cooperate, the theft charge escalates to robbery. If a weapon or other firearm was used in the robbery, then armed robbery charges are probable. If the victim had drugs in their system against their will during the robbery, aggravated robbery charges may ensue.

Know the Difference

It would be illogical to defend yourself against robbery charges when you were truthfully facing burglary accusations. This is an example of where it is imperative for you to know and understand the difference between the allegations. Using such knowledge on your behalf can lead to reduced or dropped charges. If you are interested in discussing your case with a proven and experienced Joliet theft crimes defense attorney , contact the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation today.

Resisting Arrest Can Lead to Serious Trouble

Joliet resisting arrest lawyer

One of the most widely covered news stories of 2014 revolved around the death of Eric Garner in New York City. The circumstances surrounding his case have been hotly debated , as some insisted that the actions of the police were unwarranted, while others maintained that Garner’s own actions in resisting arrest ultimately led to his death.

The tragic New York incident represents just one of the thousands of cases in America each year that involve resisting arrest or obstruction of a peace officer. While discussion over the appropriate use of police force and authority is certainly warranted, state laws across the country, including Illinois, clearly prohibit resisting arrest or otherwise preventing a peace officer from performing his or her duty.

Resisting Any Arrest

One of the most important aspects of the Illinois statute regarding resisting arrest is that it makes no mention of lawful arrest. This means that resisting arrest charges may still be valid even if the arrest itself was unlawful. While it may seem unfair to many critics concerned with the abuse of police authority, from a legal standpoint, it provides law enforcement with a degree of protection in performing their duties.

Penalties for Resisting Arrest in Illinois

An individual charged with resisting arrest or obstructing a peace officer in Illinois faces serious penalties, in addition to any charges or penalties related to the initial arrest. Simple resisting or obstructing is considered a Class A misdemeanor subject to sentences of community service, fines up to $2,500 and imprisonment of up to one year. Resisting arrest or obstructing a peace officer may be prosecuted as a Class 4 felony if the actions of the arrested individual caused or led to injuries to an officer of the law.

Resisting Arrest Defense

If you have been arrested for any type of crime and are being additionally charged with resisting arrest, you need the representation of a qualified lawyer. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Joliet today at the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba . Our team has worked with hundreds of clients facing a wide variety of criminal charges, including resisting arrest, and we look forward to helping you.

Filing a Pre-Trial Motion to Dismiss Criminal Charges

Joliet Criminal Lawyer

An effective criminal defense attorney will not wait for a case to go to trial before mounting a defense of his client. For example, the attorney might consider filing a pre-trial motion to dismiss the charges. The motion must be filed within a reasonable time after the defendant has been arraigned and can be filed before or after entering a plea.

The motion must be based on one of the following grounds for dismissal:

• Every defendant has a right to a speedy trial . If the trial is not commenced within the statutorily determined time frame then that is grounds for dismissal.
• A defendant may be prosecuted for several criminal offenses in the same trial. However, if the prosecution knows about these offenses and they all fall within a single court’s jurisdiction, then the offenses (usually) must be prosecuted in a single prosecution. If the state initiates a subsequent prosecution based on the defendant’s previous criminal conduct then that is grounds for dismissal.
• The prosecution is likely barred if the defendant was already prosecuted for the same offense, based on the same facts.
• If charges are not brought within a specific crime’s statute of limitations – or extended limitations period, if applicable – then that is grounds for dismissal.
• In some cases the defendant might be immune from criminal prosecution, which would also warrant dismissal. For example, a material witness in another criminal case may be granted immunity from prosecution based on his testimony.
• The charges can be dropped if the indictment was returned by a grand jury that was improperly selected or acted contrary to Illinois law and resulted in substantial injustice to the defendant.
• The court will dismiss the case if it does not have jurisdiction.
• The case may be dismissed if the particular county is not a proper place to hold the trial.
• If the charge does not state an actual offense then that is grounds for dismissal.
• If the indictment is based solely on the testimony of an incompetent witness then the charges will be dropped.
• If the defendant is misnamed in the charge and the misnomer results in substantial injustice to the defendant then the court can dismiss the case.
Felony charges cannot be brought unless the defendant receives a preliminary examination or an indictment by a grand jury. If the prosecution does not comply with these requirements then that is grounds for dismissal.

Contact Us Today

There is no need to incur the expense or emotional toll of a trial if the criminal charges should not have been brought in the first place, or if the prosecution violated Illinois laws of criminal procedure. Our Will County criminal defense attorneys will pursue these and other procedural avenues as part of your defense. Contact us today for a consultation. We can assist those in Frankfort, Joliet and the surrounding area.


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