Burglary Charges and Illinois Law
Several weeks ago, a Joliet man was found hiding the in rafters of a Mokena housing complex currently under construction and now faces charges of burglary. Police believe that the man, along with an accomplice who was found outside the complex, may have been looking to steal copper or tools, but that no stolen property was found in the possession of either individual. Both men have been charged with burglary in connection to the case.
What is Burglary?
Although related to other property crimes, burglary is not, of itself, the taking of property belonging to another. Instead, it more directly concerns a person’s unlawful gaining of access to another’s property or his or her presence in or on such property.
Under Illinois law , burglary is committed by a person who, without proper authority, enters or remains within a building, trailer, boat, aircraft, or vehicle with the intent of committing theft or another felony. The law also provides for the specific charge of residential burglary when the action is committed within a building or trailer which serves as a dwelling place.
Although it is sometimes known colloquially as “breaking and entering,” burglary is not necessarily dependent on forceful entry. In addition to entering an unlocked car or building, burglary may also be committed by deception, especially residential burglary. A person who purports to be a utility worker or government representative, for example, to gain access to a home with the intent to steal is also guilty of residential burglary.
No Theft Necessary
The Mokena example demonstrates that the intended theft or other felony does not need to be committed in order to justify burglary charges. The perpetrator’s intent to commit such actions is of primary concern. Without such intent, charges of criminal trespass may be more likely than those of burglary.
In addition to theft, the intent to commit another felony may also result in burglary charges. These may include, but are not limited to, the intent to commit arson, destruction of property, assault, battery, and more serious crimes, such as sexual assault or murder.
As with many criminal offenses, charges of burglary depend greatly on the specifics of each case. The most basic offense is generally charged as a Class 2 felony but may be considered a Class 1 felony if the action took place in a residence, school, church, or day care center. These charges can result in serious criminal penalties in addition those which may result from other crimes associated with the burglary.
If you have been accused of burglary, it is imperative you seek the help of an attorney who is willing to fight for you. Contact an experienced Will County criminal defense attorney today for a free consultation. We will review your case, help you understand your options, and work with you toward protecting your future.