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Defending Those Facing Residential Burglary And Home Invasion Charges

Being found guilty of entering someone’s home without permission can change a person’s life forever. Between prison time, fines, and a permanent criminal record, the consequences are staggering. Someone facing these charges may think there’s no way out and that they should accept their fate, but they shouldn’t give up hope before seeking legal help.

The Law Office of Jessica Koester, LLC in Edwardsville is an established local criminal defense law firm. Attorney Jessica Koester draws on substantial courtroom experience to help people Illinois fight to defend their freedom and futures. 

If you are accused of residential burglary or home invasion anywhere in the East St. Louis area, you need an aggressive defense. Call 618-307-4192 now to request your free consultation with an experienced criminal defense trial attorney.

What Is Residential Burglary?

Under Illinois state law, a residential burglary happens when an unauthorized person enters or unlawfully remains in another person’s home with the intent to commit theft or another crime. 720 ILCS 5/19-6. Intent to commit a crime can look like a type of theft crime; breaking into a home and taking a laptop. It is important to note that an actual theft is not necessary for prosecutors to seek burglary charges.

It is the alleged intent at the time of entry that is often at issue in burglary cases. The possession of burglary tools, for instance, may suggest the entry was for allegedly nefarious reasons beyond a mere trespass. An actual theft after an unlawful entry may similarly lead prosecutors to believe the evidence shows burglary, as in the laptop scenario above. 

However, if police and prosecutors have evidence to suggest the person entered the home intending to commit vandalism, assault and battery, any other crime, the charges may rise to an alleged residential burglary. In other words, burglary does not require theft, or the intent to commit theft. When a person enters a home without permission (or remains unlawfully in a residence), and with the intent to commit any crime, the state may bring burglary charges. One critical element in these offenses is the allegation of an intent to commit a crime in the home.

What Is Home Invasion?

In Illinois, a home invasion is when an unauthorized person enters a home and stays there, knowing that another person is present. 720 ILCS 5/19-6. While in the house, the unwelcome party uses force or threatens to with a firearm or another deadly weapon. Whether someone is injured, killed, or threatened makes no difference. Here, critical steps in the legal analysis include reviewing the evidence for proof of the presence of a person in the home and use the force, or threat, against the person in the home involving some form of deadly weapon.

What Is The Difference Between Home Invasion And Residential Burglary In Illinois?

Residential burglary requires the unlawful presence in a residence with the intent to commit a crime other than the unlawful entry, whereas home invasion requires an unlawful presence in an occupied residence with the additional use of force, or threat of use of a deadly weapon toward against the occupant(s).

Both offenses involve an unwelcome entry into a residence. With residential burglary, the state must prove an intent to commit some form of crime upon entry of the home, or at the time the individual remains in the home when told that they are no longer welcome in the home. In the case of a home invasion, the critical events must include the presence of someone else in the home, and proof that the person charged use force or the threat of force involving a deadly weapon — note that a firearm is not the only type of weapon that may be considered a “deadly weapon.”

These types of criminal cases require a deep review of the minor details involving the evidence and a strong command of criminal law. Criminal defense lawyer Jessica Koester is very thorough, skilled and experienced in defending individuals charged with these serious felonies in Illinois.

The Penalties For Burglary And Home Invasion In Illinois

Residential burglary is a Class 1 felony in Illinois. The penalties for these offenses may include the following:

  • Four to 15 years in prison
  • Four years of probation after completing the prison sentence
  • A fine of up to $25,000

Home invasion is a Class X felony. Here’s what the penalties could look like:

  • Six to 30 years in prison
  • A fine of up to $25,000

Depending on the severity of the home invasion offense, those convicted could also face an additional 15 to 25 years in prison.

Potential Defenses Against These Charges

Just because someone gets charged with residential burglary or home invasion doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be found guilty. There are potential defenses that could help those accused avoid conviction.

In the case of residential burglary, an attorney could argue that the person accused did not intend to commit a crime at the time of entry. Since intent to commit a crime is the critical element in these offenses, the absence of this element could reduce the charge to a less severe one.

For home invasion, if the accused immediately left the home once they became aware there was another person there without attempting to cause or causing bodily injury to anyone.

Start Working On A Defense Today

The threat of serious criminal charges can be paralyzing. But those facing them must take the opposite action to get another chance at life. The experienced criminal defense attorney at The Law Office of Jessica Koester, LLC, is ready to act quickly to protect people charged with residential burglary and home invasion. Clients of the criminal defense law firm understand what they’re up against. Moreover, Ms. Koester creates powerful defense strategies, and fights as hard as she can to protect the rights of clients in criminal court. Call 618-307-4192 or message the law firm online to request a free consultation.