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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
630-472-9700Available 24/7

Posted on in Burglary

IL defense lawyerRobbery and burglary are two theft crimes that are sometimes spoken of interchangeably, but in reality, they are very different, at least under Illinois law. One is generally charged more highly than the other, but there are always exceptions. Either way, it is important to understand that each charge has very specific criteria that must be met if you are to be convicted. By knowing this, it may be possible to focus your efforts (that is, your attorney’s) on attacking specific pillars of the relevant charge.

Burglary Basics

Burglary is defined as someone entering into or remaining “without authority” in a building or vehicle (many types of vehicles qualify under the statute, including automobiles and boats, among others) with the intent to commit a theft or felony therein. The statute was just modified in recent years to include more areas than simply buildings (previously, only buildings were implicated in the law explicitly). It is important to keep in mind that while it is not enumerated in the law itself, the courts recognize residential burglary as somewhat more serious due to the nature of the crime, which is why it is usually charged as a Class 1 felony, while regular burglary is a Class 2 felony, which can in some cases be pled down to probation.

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IL defense lawyerEven as the status of some types of drugs, such as cannabis, has changed with advances in medical science, possession, and use of most street drugs remains a serious crime. Illinois, in particular, has raised the sentences for drug possession and distribution in recent years, which means that if you find yourself charged with such an offense, it can mean serious penalties upon conviction.

The Elements Are Clear

There are three major elements to a charge of drug possession in Illinois. Possession can be charged if one is caught with either the listed drug or a controlled substance analog, which has a chemical composition similar to any listed controlled substance (such as certain designer drugs, for example). The elements are: 1) establishing the substance in question as controlled; 2) showing the defendant knowingly possessed that substance; and 3) the substance was in that person’s possession (either actual or constructive possession qualifies).

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IL defense lawyerMany crimes in Illinois have their ‘aggravated’ counterparts, from assault to sexual abuse. However, there is routine confusion about what exactly makes a crime aggravated, and how it affects sentencing. If you have been charged with a crime, understanding the nature of such a charge can help you determine how best to attack the problem and ensure your side of the story is heard.

Definitions Vary

When one examines an individual crime, the circumstances that make it aggravated will obviously depend on the cause of action. For example, in Illinois, a domestic violence charge becomes aggravated if the behavior in question encompasses criminal acts against a minor, any kind of sexual abuse, or great bodily harm against any victim, but drug crimes become aggravated if drugs are made or transported to certain buildings. Yet the general definition of aggravation in such a context is any circumstance or factor that makes a crime more injurious but is not a step that is part of the offense itself.

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 Illinois criminal lawyerIllinois is a state that is very concerned with the appropriate regulation of firearms, having been the last state to legalize concealed carry and often making revisions to the relevant laws to increase safety. Because of this, the penalties for even a first firearms offense can be extremely severe. If you are charged with a firearms violation, it is imperative that you understand the nature of the allegations against you so that you can react accordingly.

FOID Cards and Concealed Carry Licenses

An Illinois gun license is known as a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) Card, and one must possess one in order to lawfully own a gun. To obtain one, a person must submit an application to the Illinois State Police and show that they meet the relevant criteria (or do not - for example, no one who has been convicted of certain crimes of violence or been found mentally incompetent within the preceding five years may hold a FOID card). It is important to keep in mind that a FOID card is not the same as a concealed carry license, though it is a prerequisite to obtaining one. In other words, the mere possession of a FOID card does not allow you to concealed carry in Illinois.

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Illinois criminal lawyerA large proportion of the general public has shoplifted in their lifetimes, either as very young children, as teens, or even as adults. However, while it may seem like shoplifting is a relatively harmless crime, Illinois law is structured in such a way that the taking of a relatively small amount of property can spiral into felony territory. If you or a loved one has been charged with retail theft, it is imperative that you understand the potential consequences before proceeding to trial.

Statutes Are Specific

Retail theft in Illinois is defined as taking possession of, carrying away, or causing to be transferred or carried away any merchandise from a retail establishment, with the intention of retaining it without paying full retail value for it. While this definition includes shoplifting, it also includes other practices like changing price tags and returning shoplifted items for store credit or cash. It also encompasses rental items and failure to return them.

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