In Illinois, burglary is defined by 720 ILCS 5/19-1 as the crime a person commits when without authority he or she knowingly enters or without authority remains within a building, housetrailer, watercraft, aircraft, motor vehicle, railroad car, or any part thereof, with intent to commit therein a felony or theft. This offense shall not include the offenses set out in Section 4-102 of the Illinois Vehicle Code.
Burglary is a Class 2 felony in Illinois. A burglary committed in a school, day care center, day care home, group day care home, or part day child care facility, or place of worship is a more serious Class 1 felony, except that this provision does not apply to a day care center, day care home, group day care home, or part day child care facility operated in a private residence used as a dwelling.
As the forgoing makes clear, burglary is a crime committed by entering or remaining in a structure or vehicle, rather than a crime of stealing. That means that a person can be charged with burglary in Illinois under much broader circumstances than a case where they enter to steal property. For example, burglary can be charged along with sexual assault when a person is accused of breaking in to a building or vehicle to sexually assault an occupant in Illinois. Burglary is also sometime charged when a person shoplifts in Illinois, which can result in a felony charge if a person were to shoplift a $0.50 piece of candy from a store, since the entry into the store for the purpose of shoplifting is considered to be a burglary.
People charged with burglary in Illinois are well advised to exercise their right to remain silent and seek an attorney at once. Properly handling a charge such as burglary is vital, since felony convictions can have a long-lasting effect upon a person’s employment, education, housing, and other aspects of life.