Burglary charges are oftentimes misunderstood. Burglary generally refers to when a person illegally enters another person’s property with intent to commit a crime. Breaking into another’s property alone is not enough to charge someone with burglary. If it cannot be proven that the person intended to commit another crime on the property or inside the residence, this crime is called trespassing.
Proving Burglary Occurred
A state prosecutor must prove several things in order for a criminal defendant to be convicted of burglary. First, he or she must prove that the defendant entered a property without the property owners consent. If the defendant had permission to enter the property at one point, but that permission has since expired, this is still considered entering the property without permission. Secondly, the prosecutor must show that the defendant knowingly entered the premises. If a defendant accidently wandered into someone’s property, it can be hard for a prosecutor to make a burglary charge or even trespassing charge stick. Lastly and most importantly, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant planned to commit a theft or a felony on the property.
What is Burglary
Although we usually think of burglary as breaking into someone’s home with intent to commit a crime, the term encompasses more than this. A defendant may be charged with burglary for entering a motor vehicle, boat, aircraft, or other property in addition to buildings and homes. In Illinois, the type of property which the defendant entered can affect the potential criminal penalties he or she faces. If the crime took place in a school, church, or other place of worship, it is a Class 1 felony offense. Burglaries of homes and residences are also Class 1 felonies under Illinois law. Burglary of other types of property is most often considered a Class 2 felony offense. If the state prosecutor can prove that the defendant was trespassing on another person’s property, but not that he or she intended to commit theft or another crime, the charges may be reduced to criminal trespass. Criminal trespass is a Class A misdemeanor or Class 4 felony in Illinois depending on the circumstances.
Contact a Will County Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with burglary, speak with an experienced Joliet Illinois criminal defense lawyer right away. To speak with the knowledgeable legal professionals at the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C., call us at 815-740-4025. We offer cost-free, no-obligation initial consultations.