In Illinois, you can be charged with burglary if you 1) enter or remain in a building without authority 2) with intent to commit a felony or theft.

Under recent Illinois case law, you can lose the authority to enter or remain in a building even when that building is open to the public during business hours. Once you form the intent to shoplift or steal, your authority to be there disappears. The court held that a defendant who develops an intent to steal after his entry into a public building may be found guilty of burglary by unlawfully remaining.

In People v Bradford, the court upheld the conviction of a defendant who entered a Wal-mart and stole several items. The defendant was charged with burglary rather than retail theft. Unlike shoplifting, burglary requires the state to prove that the defendant remained without authority. The defendant argued that the state failed to prove he lacked authority to remain inside the Wal-mart, which was open for business. The court, however, held that once he formed the intent to steal, he lost the authority to remain.

If you are charged with burglary or another criminal matter, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An experienced attorney can review your case for the best possible defense. Even if the evidence is overwhelmingly against you, an experienced attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a better plea agreement than you can 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

See also: 720 ILCS 5/19-1 Burglary.

(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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