A suspect arrested and charged with burglary in Illinois faces a possible prison sentence. As with all other criminal charges, a burglary conviction requires the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a reasonable for the charges. The charges must also meet the criteria of the law’s definition. If it is proven someone did not steal something, a theft conviction might be impossible. With burglary, there are specific actions the defendant must commit for the charges to be credible.
Burglary and the law
A misconception about burglaries is that they refer to forcibly entering a property intending to commit theft. While it is accurate to say those two elements could lead to a burglary charge, they are not the exclusive basis for burglary accusations. Burglary involves an unauthorized entry into a building or occupied structure intending to commit a crime.
Unauthorized entry does not only involve breaking into a property. Opening and unlocking a door and entering without permission might satisfy the unauthorized entry. Although the person might not wish to steal something, they could want to harass an individual or threaten them. That could support the element of intending to commit a crime.
One way to defend against a burglary charge involves proving the entry was authorized. Two parties may have a disagreement, which leads to police involvement and one person being charged with burglary. However, another eyewitness may testify the person had permission to be inside the property.
A person may force their way into a property but not have the intent to commit a crime. The individual may have thought an emergency situation existed and entered the property to help someone, but confusion led to accusations and an arrest. Disproving any intent to commit a crime could lead to an acquittal or dismissal of charges.