Theft isn’t necessary for burglary charges

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2024 | Theft, Robbery And Burglary |

When people talk about burglary, they often focus on theft crimes. To many people, burglary is synonymous with breaking into a house to steal from someone. While many burglary cases do begin with the intention to steal from people, not all burglary charges relate to the theft of property or an attempted theft.

People can get arrested for burglary without ever actually taking property that belongs to an individual or a business. According to Illinois state statutes, burglary is an umbrella term that applies to a variety of different potential criminal incidents.

Burglary involves unlawful property access

Someone illegally entering a home or business has committed an act of burglary. Breaking into a home or business can constitute burglary. So can entering a building in a lawful manner with the intent of remaining there to commit a crime later.

For example, if someone goes into a store during business hours and then hides in the storage shelving in the rear of the building, that constitutes burglary. So does attending a party or an open house at a private residence and then remaining behind until everyone else leaves.

The intended illegal activity does not necessarily need to be a property crime or theft. People can face burglary charges if they break into a home with the intent to assault someone as well.

Burglary charges carry serious penalties

Even without secondary charges related to the fact or other criminal activity, burglary allegations can lead to life-altering consequences for the accused individual. The exact charges and the penalties possible depend on whether the property someone illegally accessed was a home or a business.

Most burglary cases involving businesses lead to Class 2 felony charges. If the building is a school, place or worship or dwelling, the offense becomes a Class 1 felony. Burglary is a crime that violates public trust, which means that it may stand out as a concerning criminal infraction to educational institutions, landlords and employers.

Sometimes, what seems like burglary might just be a mistake or a case of miscommunication. Nevertheless, those accused of a burglary offense may need help planning an appropriate criminal defense strategy. Fighting burglary charges can help people avoid significant penalties and a criminal record that could limit their opportunities for years to come.