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In Illinois, an individual commits burglary when they enter or remain within a building, without authority, with the intent to commit a felony or theft therein. Depending on the structure the burglary was committed in, those found guilty of the charge could be facing a wide range of potential penalties. Our legislature has divided burglary into separate categories, so for the sake of not making four very short articles on the topic, we will be covering them in their entirety.

Burglary related offenses in Illinois are divided into the following categories:

  1. Burglary

  2. Residential Burglary

  3. Home Invasion

  4. Criminal Trespass




A person commits the crime of burglary when they enter/remain in a building or a vehicle (which is classified as a motor vehicle, aircraft, boat, railroad car, or a house trailer) without authority and with the intent to commit a theft or felony therein.

The penalties for Burglary in Illinois depend on which kind of Burglary is committed:

  • An individual who burglarizes a building/vehicle without causing any damage commits a Class 3 Felony.

    • A Class 3 Felony is punishable by 2 to 5 years prison time and a fine of up to $25,000.00

  • If the alleged Burglary does result in property damage, then the punishment becomes a Class 2 Felony.

    • A Class 2 Felony is punishable by 3 to 7 years prison time and a fine of up to $25,000.00

  • Finally, if the Burglary involves a school, childcare facility, group daycare home, or place of worship, the Burglary becomes a Class 1 Felony.

    • A Class 1 Felony is punishable by 4 to 15 years prison time and a fine of up to $25,000.00


An individual commits the offense of Residential Burglary when they knowingly and without authority enter or remain in another's dwelling with intent to commit a felony or theft therein.

A dwelling is defined as any building or enclosed space used or intended to be used as a home or residence. This can include your standard homes, apartments, mobile homes, trailers, and RVs. Additionally, it does not matter whether or not the structure is inhabited at the time in which a crime is being committed, only that the space itself is 'inhabitable,'

Additionally, an individual also commits Residential Burglary when he or she falsely represents themselves as an employee of the government, construction, telecommunications, or utility company for the purpose of gaining entry to the swelling of another individual with the intent of committing a felony/theft therein or to help further another individual's efforts to commit a felony/theft in the property.

A conviction for Residential Burglary is a Class 1 Felony punishable by 4 to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.00


Between the separate categories of Burglary, Home Invasion carries with it the most serious of penalties if found guilty.

An individual commits the offense of Home Invasion when he/she, without authority, enters the dwelling of another when they know, or have reason to know, that someone is present inside of the dwelling; or

When an individual knowingly enters the dwelling of another and remains there until that individual knows, or has reason to know, that another party is present; or

When an individual falsely represents themselves as an employee of any unit of government, construction, telecommunications, or utility company, for the purpose of gaining entry to the dwelling place of another when they know, or have reason to know, another person is present and

  1. is armed with a firearm, or other weapon, and uses or threatens to use force; or

  2. intentionally injures someone; or

  3. uses or threatens to use force and discharges a firearm; or

  4. discharges a firearm that causes great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement, or death to another person, or

  5. commits sexual assault or sexual abuse against any person within the swelling.

Additionally, an intruder includes an individual who maintains the dwelling in question as their personal residence; however their presence within the home is barred by a divorce decree, order of protection, or any court order preventing them access from the dwelling in question.

An individual convicted of Home Invasion faces the penalties for a Class X Felony which is punishable by 6 to 30 years in prison. If the individual in question was armed with a firearm, the Court has the ability to add an additional penalty of 15 to 25 years, or life imprisonment, to the individual's sentence.


Now I know what you're thinking, what defines a "burglary tool," and what aisle of Walmart can I find them?

The Statute states that a person commits possession of burglary tools when he/she possesses any key, tool, instrument, device, or any explosive suitable for use in breaking into a building, housetrailer, watercraft, aircraft, motor vehicle, railroad car, or any area designed for the safekeeping of property, or any part thereof, with the intent to commit a felony/theft.

Now with a definition like that, the obvious concern is that the Statute is overly broad and obviously vague. A welders torch is considered to be a 'burglary tool,' no differently than a hammer or a screwdriver. The difference being the intent behind the possession.

If an officer pulls over a vehicle being driven by a licensed contractor, he'll find a whole assortment of tools which could theoretically be used for a burglary. But the question becomes one of the intent for the possession of these items. A more illustrative example would be a man being stopped by police while attempting to enter a locked property with a back pack filled with an assortment of crowbars, hammers and screwdrivers. It can be inferred by the circumstances of the second example that the man possessed these items with the intent of committing a theft, while the first guy is just trying to get to a job site and stores his tools in his truck in between jobs.

The penalties for being found guilty of possessing Burglary Tools is a Class 4 Felony - punishable by 1 to 3 years prison time.


An individual commits Criminal Trespass when he/she

  1. Enters or remains in a building without permission; or

  2. Enters onto the property of another after being told entry is prohibited; or

  3. Remains on a property after being told to leave; or

  4. Presents to the occupants of a dwelling false identification or documentation in order to enter or remain on a property.

  • A person who commits criminal trespass is guilty of a Class B Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail.

  • If the individual trespasses onto agricultural property using a motor-powered vehicle, the penalty becomes a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.00

  • If the individual trespasses onto a residence, the penalty is a Class A Misdemeanor.

    • The penalty becomes a Class 4 Felony if the person knows or has reason to know that another individual is present in the home. A Class 4 Felony is punishable by 1 to 3 years prison time.


Being charged with any assortment of Burglary charges can carry with them very serious penalties if you're found guilty. What you need is an Attorney who will review the evidence and vigorously investigate your case to insure that your rights are sufficiently protected. If you're being charged with Burglary in the State of Illinois, contact my office now to schedule a free consultation!


Attorney Joseph S. Angelillo has been representing individual's across the State of Illinois since 2016.