Crimes can be categorized into one of two major categories: crimes against individuals and crimes against property. One of the more common property crimes that often occurs in the Chicagoland area is burglary. Many people are under the mistaken impression that burglary requires that perpetrator to unlawfully take another’s property. Under Illinois law, the actual taking of property is not required for a person to be charged with burglary, and a burglary case may even be brought against a person if they had no intention of stealing anything at all. Because of the potentially serious legal consequences a burglary suspect may be facing, it is important for anyone accused of burglary to discuss their case with a Chicago criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. The early intervention of an attorney can often significantly affect the outcome of a case, and an attorney may even be able to have the completely dropped.
The Illinois Burglary Statute
Illinois’ burglary law can be found in ILCS 5/19, and makes it illegal to knowingly enter or remain in a building, railroad car, watercraft, aircraft, motor vehicle, or horsetrailer without authority with the intention of committing a theft or a serious crime. In other words, a person does not need to actually commit an additional crime, but only must have the intent to do so. In addition, while most burglary involves the taking of property, the intention to commit any other serious crime is sufficient. For example, a person who entered another person’s home with the intent of causing serious bodily harm could potentially be accused of burglary in addition to the violent act that may or may not have actually occurred. Illinois law also criminalizes the possession of burglary tools. The statute allows a judge or a jury to draw an inference of intent to sufficient to support a burglary charge if a person is found with a device intended to pick a lock.