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When Can You Be Charged with Burglary in Illinois?


Many people believe burglary means breaking into a home to steal money or property. However, according to Illinois law, burglary is associated with many more possible situations than the traditional idea of the crime.

In general, this criminal offense refers to entering a building, vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, or trailer with the intent to commit a theft or any other type of felony offense. “Entering” doesn’t equal to forcefully breaking in, but can also mean using fraud to obtain entry, sneaking in, or even staying in the vicinity after permission to be there had expired. In most cases, burglary is considered a Class 2 felony, punishable by a prison sentence between three and seven years.

However, you may face a Class 1 felony – punishable by a prison sentence between four and 15 years – if the burglary occurred in one of the following locations:

  • School
  • Place of worship
  • Day care center and other child care facilities
  • Group care home

In Illinois, burglaries which happen in the residential dwelling of another individual or group of people is considered a separate offense. A “dwelling” refers to a place where a person sleeps. If you are suspected of entering or staying in a dwelling without permission – and with the intention to commit theft or a felony crime – it is a Class 1 felony. Furthermore, penalties may substantially increase if someone was home at the time of the burglary, if a weapon was allegedly used in the commission of the crime, or if you caused an injury to another individual.

Burglary requires that a person has the intent to commit a crime. Unfortunately, many people face charges when they were present in a facility with no such intent.

If you were recently arrested and charged with burglary, contact a Chicago criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Steven Fine and schedule a free consultation today.