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Can I be charged with burglary if I didn’t steal anything?

| Nov 9, 2020 | Criminal defense |

If you believe television and movies, you may think that a person only commits burglary when they forcefully kick down a locked door and steal something valuable therein. However, under Illinois law, the crime of burglary does not have to be so nefarious. In fact, it may not involve force or actual theft at all.

What constitutes burglary in Illinois?

Under Illinois law, if a person is charged with burglary, the prosecution must prove the following elements. First, they must show you entered property without the property owner’s permission or remained on the property after the property after that permission had expired. Note that this entering doesn’t need to be forceful; even opening an unlocked door counts. Second, they must show that you knowingly, with awareness or purpose, entered the property intending to commit a theft crime or any other felony crime, even if it does not involve theft of if the crime at issue is not actually committed.

What are some defenses to burglary charges?

There are a variety of defenses a person may be able to use to prove they did not commit burglary. One is that the accused did have permission from the property owner to be on the premises and this permission was not revoked at the time the alleged crime occurred. Another defense is that the accused had no intention of doing anything illegal once they entered the property. A third defense in some circumstances is entrapment by the police.

Seek assistance if you are charged with burglary in Illinois

Ultimately, this post only provides an overview of the crime of burglary in Illinois and some possible defenses. It does not contain legal advice applicable to any specific person’s circumstances. Those in Kendall County or DeKalb County who are facing burglary charges will want to consult with a criminal defense attorney, so they have a better understanding of their rights and options.