Lawyer speaking to JudgeThis is the next post in a series of articles discussing defending against burglary charges in Peoria, Illinois. My previous post explained the potential penalties that one may face if convicted of burglary. Under Illinois law, burglary is typically considered a felony offense. Depending upon the type of building or dwelling involved and the existence of other aggravating factors, such as the presence of a weapon, penalties may involve significant jail time. Those convicted may also be required to pay fines, will have a permanent criminal record, and may be precluded from possessing a firearm for the rest of their life. In this article, I will address the importance of vigorously defending oneself against any charges associated with burglary allegations. If you are facing criminal charges, it is imperative to contact an attorney with criminal defense experience as soon as possible. Contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

As previously discussed in this series, under Illinois law, burglary occurs when one enters a structure without permission with the intent of committing a crime while inside. Because the prosecution must prove that the accused intended to commit another crime, burglary is generally accompanied by associated criminal charges. For instance, if one enters a residence with the intent to steal property, the defendant would likely be charged with burglary and theft. If an individual enters a school with the intention of defacing public property, they would likely be charged with both crimes. If the accused can defend against the associated charge, it may be difficult for the prosecutor to prove that the defendant committed burglary.

Consider the following example. Sue is suspected of entering a neighbor’s house while they are out of town and stealing several pieces of jewelry. She is charged with burglary and theft. The charges are based upon an eyewitness’ statement that she saw Sue near the home on the night the jewelry was stolen. The eyewitness, a stranger to the neighborhood, was walking in the area when she claims to have seen Sue. Her walk was after dark and there were no lights near the scene of the crime. The police show the witness a picture of Sue and ask whether she was the intruder. They later place Sue, a blond-haired woman who is 5’2” in a line-up with four other brown-haired, significantly taller women. The witness confirms that Sue is the person she saw near the neighbor’s home. At the preliminary hearing, the judge determines that the eyewitness’ identification was the result of overly suggestive police practices and cannot be admitted. Absent any other evidence that she stole the jewelry, the prosecution would likely drop the theft charges and, without any additional proof that Sue committed the underlying charge, dismiss the burglary charge as well.

I am a former prosecutor and understand how to navigate the Illinois criminal justice system. I am dedicated to vigorously defending my clients. If you need assistance, contact my office to speak with a lawyer. In addition to Peoria, I serve clients in the cities of Bloomington, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington. I also serve the counties of Fulton, Knox, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford.