The answer may be yes, if you are no longer living there. Under 720 ILCS 5/19-6, you commit home invasion when you, without authority, knowingly enter or remain in another’s home or falsely represent yourself to gain entry to another’s home while having reason to know that another is present, and you (1) threaten or use force while armed with a dangerous weapon or firearm whether or not injury occurs, (2) you intentionally injure someone in the home, or (3) you fire a gun, or in firing the gun, you cause great bodily injury, permanent disability or death. A “dwelling place of another” can be a home where you are on the deed or lease, but from which you have been barred by a divorce decree, order of protection or other court order.

It is a defense if you either immediately leave the premises or if you surrender to the person lawfully present without attempting to cause bodily injury.

To avoid a conviction for home invasion, you must have both a “tenancy interest” and a “possessory interest.” For example, in People v. Lawrence, the defendant broke a window to enter the home where he had lived with his former wife. Defendant’s name was still on the lease. Nevertheless, the court upheld his conviction for home invasion because the wife had kicked the defendant out several months earlier. While he had a “tenancy interest” because of the lease, he no longer had a “possessory interest.”

Home invasion is a Class X felony.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Can the state prove all the elements of your offense beyond a reasonable doubt? Did you have authority to enter the home? Do you actually still live there? Did you leave immediately? Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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