Illinois Burglary

The Law – 720 ILCS 5/19-1

A person commits burglary when without authority, the person knowingly enters or remains within a building, housetrailer, watercraft, aircraft, motor vehicle, railroad car, or any part thereof, with intent to commit therein a felony or theft. (This offense shall not apply to those offenses set forth in Section 4-102 of the Illinois Vehicle Code.)

Burglary involves going into a building or other structure/conveyance listed – while no people are present at any point. That is the distinction between burglary and robbery. Here, with burglary, the major issue usually surrounds whether the person charged was present “with the intent to commit a felony or theft”. The State must prove this beyond a reasonable doubt. There are many factors which go to show this intent, and also many factors which go to show that the person’s intent was NOT to commit a felony or theft. Each case is different and the facts of each case are different. Of course, the State has the burden of proving every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Sentence

CLASS 2 FELONY – 3-7 years prison

Probation Possible? – Yes

CLASS 1 FELONY – 4-15 YEARS, IF --- the BURGLARY IS committed in a school, day care center, day care home, or part day child care facility, or place of worship (UNLESS THE DAY CARE CENTER , day care home, or part day child care facility WAS OPERATED IN A PRIVATE RESIDENCE USED AS A DWELLING).

Probation Possible – Yes.

Success Story: We successfully defended a client charged with burglary by showing and arguing that the State had not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that our client’s intent in entering a building was for the purpose of committing a felony or theft. Our client had refused to give a statement to the police when he was apprehended in a building (as was his absolute right under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution), he had no burglary tools with him, had nothing else in his possession that would substantiate the State’s argument that he had to have been there to do something illegal. It is not enough for the State to just argue that a person HAD TO have been there for an illicit purpose, the State must PROVE that the person intended to commit a felony or theft. Our client was found “not guilty” after trial.

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James A. Payonk, Jr.

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Orland Park, Illinois 60467

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