Burglary is a scary prospect for any home or property owner. Not even the best locks or security systems can keep out determined thieves. That is why Illinois has strict laws against burglary. When a burglar breaks into another person’s property, he or she runs the risk of severe criminal penalties.
Burglary Laws and Penalties
Under 720 ILCS 5/19-1, it is unlawful to knowingly enter another person’s property with the intent to commit theft or another felony. Illinois law specifically includes the following types of properties:
- House trailers;
- Motor vehicles;
- Railroad cars; and
- Water crafts.
The concept of intent is central to burglary in Illinois. It does not matter if the perpetrator actually steals anything. So long as the perpetrator intends to steal something or commit a different felony, burglary laws can apply.
The Illinois penalties for burglary change depending on the circumstances. For example, burglary can be a:
- Class 3 Felony: If the burglary does not result in any property damage, then the penalties include two to five years in prison, $25,000 in fines and up to 30 months of probation;
- Class 2 Felony: If the burglary does result in any property damage, then the penalties include three to seven years in prison, $25,000 in fines and up to four years of probation; and
- Class 1 Felony: If the burglary occurs at a school, care facility or place of worship, then the penalties include four to 15 years in prison, $25,000 in fines and up to four years of probation.
Possession of Burglary Tools
Under 720 ILCS 5/19-2, it is unlawful to knowingly possess burglary tools or similar instruments. Illinois law specifically includes the following types of burglary tools:
- Keys; and
- Other tools.
Illinois law takes a broad approach in terms of burglary tools. On one level, the tool must be capable of breaking into another person’s property. On another level, the perpetrator must possess the tool with the intent to commit burglary. If the perpetrator satisfies both of those conditions, then they face criminal penalties for the possession of burglary tools.
In most cases, the possession of burglary tools is a Class 4 felony in Illinois. The usual punishment for such a felony includes the possibility of one to three years in prison, $25,000 in fines and up to 30 months of probation.
Do You Need Legal Help?
No matter what the criminal offense, all charges are serious. A sound strategy and an aggressive defense are essential for a positive outcome. To protect your rights in such situations, it is highly advisable to retain legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The Prior Law Firm in Bloomington, Illinois, has proven experience in matters of criminal defense. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by completing an online form.
(image courtesy of Rene Bohmer)