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What is the Difference Between Burglary, Robbery, and Theft in the State of Illinois?


Crimes involving stolen property can pack some potentially severe consequences if a person is convicted, including steep fines, jail time or imprisonment, and more. However, there is a difference between how burglary, robbery, and theft crimes are treated in Illinois, so it would be helpful to take a moment to learn the distinctions between these crimes and what penalties you could potentially endure if you are convicted of any of these charges.

Burglary Crimes

To be charged with a burglary crime in Illinois, you do not necessarily have to take someone else’s property. You can face charges for burglary for entering another person’s property if you simply have the intent to commit theft. In Illinois, property refers to any building, watercraft, aircraft, vehicle, or railroad car. If it cannot be proven that you intended to commit a felony or theft, you might only be charged with trespassing.

This crime is usually treated as a Class 2 felony and is punishable by 3 to 7 years in prison and or a fine of up to $25,000. In cases where the burglary took place at a place of worship, this crime could turn into to a Class 1 felony, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Robbery Crimes

In Illinois, robbery is defined as taking property from a person by using force or the threat of force. You can potentially be convicted of robbery without ever touching another individual since the threat of violence or force are considered enough.

This crime is usually treated as a Class 2 felony and carries the same penalties as burglary. In cases where robbery occurs in a daycare, place of worship, or against someone who is over the age of 60 or handicapped, these charges could be elevated to a Class 1 felony, which is punishable by 4 to 15 years in prison and or a fine of up to $25,000.

Armed robbery, on the other hand, is when a perpetrator is armed with a firearm or other dangerous weapon. While there are numerous factors that will determine sentencing if convicted, this is considered a Class X felony, for which you can potentially face 15 years to life in prison.

If you are charged with aggravated robbery, this means you either indicated that you are armed with a weapon or that you drugged the victim without his or her consent to commit the robbery. This is a Class 1 felony.

Theft Crimes

Theft is defined as the taking of another person’s property without their consent or to take someone else’s property through the use of deception. If you knowingly received stolen property, you could also be charged with theft. In Illinois, theft offenses are based on the monetary value of the stolen items. For example, petty theft and shoplifting offenses are misdemeanors and are punishable by less than a year of jail time and no more than $2,500 in fines, in addition to possibly having to pay restitution.

When the dollar amount of the stolen items increase, the penalties elevate as well. If the dollar amount of the stolen items range between $500 and $10,000, for example, this is considered a Class 3 felony, which is punishable by 2 to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000, in addition to restitution payments.

Chicago Theft Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested in the state of Illinois for burglary, robbery, or other theft crimes, you have the right to retain legal representation. At the Law Office of Steven Fine, our criminal defense attorney has more than two decades of legal experience, which he will use to your advantage. To secure the best possible results, reach out to our Chicago legal team today.

Call us at (312) 436-0638 to schedule a consultation. We are available to take your call 24/7.