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IL defense lawyerBurglary is commonly thought of as being synonymous with theft, but its legal definition is significantly more complicated. If you have been charged with a form of burglary in Illinois, it is crucial that you understand what you have been accused of and the severity of the possible penalties you may face. An experienced attorney can not only ensure that you are well-informed but can also provide you with the defense you need to protect your rights.

What Is Burglary?

According to Illinois law, burglary at its most basic is defined as unlawfully entering or staying in someone else’s property with the intention of committing a crime of theft or any felony offense. Burglary can happen in buildings and various types of vehicles, including cars, trucks, boats, aircraft, and railroad cars.

  • Burglary charges can significantly range in severity depending on factors including the location, the presence of other people, and the damage done. For example:
  • Burglary in a vehicle without causing damage is the least serious burglary charge, a Class 3 felony with up to five years in prison.
  • Burglary in a building, as well as burglary causing damage to a vehicle, are Class 2 felonies with up to seven years in prison.
  • Burglary in a school, daycare facility, or place of worship is a Class 1 felony. Burglary in a home is specifically known as residential burglary, and it is also a Class 1 felony. A conviction can result in up to 15 years in prison.
  • Residential burglary that takes place when the perpetrator knows that people are present, and when the perpetrator injures a person or uses or threatens force with a dangerous weapon, is known as the offense of home invasion. This is a Class X felony with a prison sentence of up to 30 years, which can be extended based on the specific circumstances.

Defense Strategies for Burglary Charges

Given the range of possible charges for burglary and related offenses, an experienced attorney may be able to help you reduce the charges or avoid conviction entirely. For example, if you are charged with home invasion, your charges may be reduced to residential burglary if you can demonstrate that you surrendered immediately upon realizing that people were in the home. If you are charged with burglary or residential burglary, your charges may be reduced to criminal trespass if you can demonstrate that you had no intention of committing a felony or theft. In a case of mistaken identity, your attorney may be able to help you avoid conviction by providing a strong alibi.


Understanding Illinois’ Retail Theft Law

Posted on in Theft

IL defense lawyerStores have many methods of keeping their merchandise and location safe from thieves, but it can still happen from customers and employees alike. People who attempt to steal from a store will face serious consequences if they are caught. Retail theft may be a tempting idea for people who are desperate for food or clothes, but offenders will be charged with misdemeanor or even felony charges if caught.

What Does the Law Say?

The state of Illinois punishes alleged thieves whether they are a person off the streets or someone who works for the business. It also covers a variety of ways that people can attempt to steal. Most simply grab an item and leave the store, but other types of theft that the law covers are:

  • Altering and/or removing labels from items to make them “less expensive” when the cashier rings up the item.
  • Taking an item from the container in which it is being stored with the intention of stealing the merchandise.
  • Removing a shopping cart from the business without their consent.
  • Attempts to convince the merchant that they are the rightful owner of the merchandise they are trying to steal.
  • Using a theft deflection device to try hiding their unlawful action from the merchant.
  • Employees who under-ring a product so they do not pay full price.
  • Using a self-checkout line to attempt to not ring up a product properly.

The least severe charge for retail theft is a Class A misdemeanor which is given out when the value of property stolen does not exceed $300. Using an anti-theft device is also a Class A misdemeanor for first offenders; subsequent offenses are elevated to Class 4 felony charges.


IL defense lawyerThe state of Illinois does have separate laws in place to differentiate between robbery and burglary. Both are very similar crimes that involve someone breaking into a specific property, vehicle, or business and either taking items or has the intent to steal items.

The act of burglary is defined by Illinois law as a person(s) unlawfully entering a property without permission of the owner with the intent to steal items while on site. Even if no property is taken, a person can be charged with burglary if the intent to steal is proven.

Illinois law defines robbery as a person(s) taking property from another person with the use of force or threat. The law does not cover automobiles, but Illinois does have a separate law for vehicular theft.


IL defense lawyerMost people use the terms theft, robbery and burglary interchangeably and for the most part, they can be used that way in general conversation. In the criminal justice world, theft, robbery, and burglary each have their own meanings and often have different consequences, depending on which crime you are accused of. If you are accused of one of these crimes, it is very important that you understand what constitutes each crime and what kind of punishments you are facing.


The Illinois Criminal Code of 2012 states that you are committing theft if you:


Illinois Theft Crimes

Posted on in Theft

Il defense lawyerOftentimes people will use the terms theft, robbery, and burglary interchangeably, though under the law, these terms have very different meanings and each contains different consequences. These crimes all include a person taking or attempting to take property from another person, but the elements of these crimes differ, as well as the consequences for committing them. Theft is a general term used when property is stolen from a person without the intention to return it. If you are being charged with a theft crime, it is important to know what you are being charged with and the penalties that you face.

What Constitutes Theft?

Theft is a broad term that can cover a variety of crimes. Theft encompasses any crime in which a person takes property from another person without the intention of returning it. In the state of Illinois, a person commits theft when they:

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