May 10

A home invasion under Illinois law is a highly specific type of criminal offense. Unlike the more general crime of breaking and entering, a home invasion also deals with the use of force or threats of force. If there is no one present who sustains physical harm during the offense, it does not normally qualify as a home invasion under Illinois law.

Illinois Definition of Home Invasion

The Illinois definition of a home invasion appears in 720 ILCS 5/19-6. Under this section, it is unlawful to knowingly enter another person’s residence or dwelling without permission or authorization.

The crime of home invasion only applies if the offender knows — or has a reason to know — that people are present in the residence or dwelling. Additionally, the criminal offender must also:

  • Use force or the threat of force while armed with a dangerous weapon;
  • Cause physical injury to a person intentionally;
  • Use force or the threat of force while armed with a firearm;
  • Discharge a firearm and use force or the threat of force;
  • Inflict physical harm, disfigurement, or death by discharging a firearm; or
  • Commit sexual assault, predatory sexual assault against a child, sexual abuse, or a similar crime against a person in the residence or dwelling.

On a related note, there is an important exception to home invasion laws. If a law enforcement officer must enter a residence or dwelling to fulfill their official duties, it does not qualify as a home invasion under 720 ILCS 5/19-6.

Illinois Penalties for Home Invasions

The Illinois penalties for a home invasion also appear in 720 ILCS 5/19-6. At an absolute minimum, home invasions are generally classified as Class X felonies in Illinois. A conviction for a Class X felony can result in six to 30 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. Illinois does not offer probation or conditional discharge for Class X felonies.

That being said, certain types of home invasions feature even longer prison sentences. Specifically, if a person commits the crime of home invasion and:

  • Brandishes a Firearm: Then the prison sentence will increase by 15 years;
  • Discharges a Firearm: Then the prison sentence will increase by 20 years; or
  • Causes Injury with a Firearm: Then the prison sentence will increase by 25 years or up to life imprisonment.

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 johnprior@thepriorlawfirm.com or by completing an online form.

(image courtesy of Alistair MacRobert)