A person commits residential burglary in Illinois when he or she knowingly without permission enters or stays within someone else’s dwelling intending to commit a felony or theft. Residential burglary in Illinois is a Class 1 felony.

If your burglary is not within a dwelling, then you may be eligible for the lesser charge of simple burglary, a Class 2 felony. So how do you know whether the home you were in was really a dwelling?

The residential burglary statute defines a dwelling as “a house, apartment, mobile home, trailer, or other living quarters in which at the time of the alleged offense the owners or occupants actually reside or in their absence intend within a reasonable period of time to reside.” (720 ILCS 5/2-6(b), 19-3(a).)

Under Illinois case law, a home is not a dwelling if the owners have moved away and do not intend to return, even if the property is up for sale and may be occupied at some later time. See People v Brett Roberts. Further, a building owned by a real estate developer was not a dwelling even though the developer visited the premises and planned on remodeling. See People v Marcello Moore. In either case, there were no specific individuals who lived there or intended to move in.

If you are charged with burglary, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case to help you present the best possible defense. As with most criminal charges, the state must prove every element of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. With residential burglary, the state must prove that the building is a dwelling. Otherwise, at the very least, your charges must be reduced.

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

Also see: Illinois Burglary Statute.

(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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This entry was posted in burglary, Class 1 Felony, Class 2 felony, dwelling, residential burglary, robbery, theft. Bookmark the permalink.

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