While commonly used interchangeably, theft, burglary, and robbery are actually completely separate crimes under Illinois law. To understand and appreciate the subtle differences between these criminal offenses, the following sections will explore relevant laws and penalties under Illinois state law.
Illinois laws against and penalties for theft crimes appear under 720 ILCS 5/16-1. A person commits theft under this section if they obtain control over another person’s property:
- Without authorization;
- Using deception;
- Employing threats;
- Knowing, or having a reason to know, that the property was stolen or likely stolen; or
- That is in the custody of law enforcement or a similar agency.
The penalty for this offense changes based on the type of theft in question. For example, theft of items worth less than $500 that occurs:
- From the Person — Results in Class A misdemeanor charges, which are punishable by a maximum of 364 days in jail and $2,500 in criminal fines; or
- Not from the Person — Results in Class 3 felony charges, which are punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and $25,000 in criminal fines.
Illinois laws against and penalties for burglary crimes appear under 720 ILCS 5/19-1. A person commits burglary under this section if they:
- Knowingly enter any part of a/an aircraft, building, house-trailer, motor vehicle, railroad car, or watercraft;
- Without legal authority or justification; and
- With the intent to commit theft or a different felony crime.
The penalty for burglary also appears under Section 19-1. If a burglary crime results in:
- No Property Damage — Then it is a Class 3 felony, punishable as outlined in the previous section; or
- Property Damage — Then it is a Class 2 felony, punishable by a maximum of seven years in prison and $25,000 in criminal fines.
Illinois laws against and penalties for robbery crimes appear under 720 ILCS 5/18-1. A person commits robbery under this section if they:
- Knowingly take property from another person, except for a motor vehicle;
- From the person or presence of the owner; and
- Using force or the threat of imminent force to complete the crime.
Under Section 18-1, robbery is usually a Class 2 felony, punishable as outlined in the previous section. If robbery occurs at a school, care facility, or place of worship, then it becomes a Class 1 felony. At that level, a conviction can result in a maximum punishment of 15 years in prison and $25,000 in criminal fines.
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 email@example.com or by completing an online form.