In Illinois, the law recognizes two types of property crimes related to unauthorized entry into a structure – burglary and residential burglary.  The breaking and entering of a non-residential building is considered plain burglary.  If there is a breaking and entering of a person’s home, then the charge is considered residential burglary.     Please be aware, you do not have to be successful in taking any property or completing any other crime to be charged with burglary.


720 ILCS 5/19-1(a)

Section 19-1(a) of the Illinois Criminal Code provides that a person commits burglary when without authority he or she knowingly enters or without authority remains within a building, housetrailer, watercraft, aircraft, motor vehicle, railroad car, or any part of that structure, with intent to commit a felony or theft. Thus, under the statute, there are two ways to commit the crime of burglary: (1) by entering a building without authority and with the intent to commit a felony or theft or (2) by remaining without authority and with the intent to commit a felony or theft.

Residential Burglary

720 ILCS 5/19-3(a).

A person commits residential burglary where knowingly and without authority, he or she enters or remains within the “dwelling place” of another with the intent to commit a felony or theft.  Simply put, a dwelling place of another is defined as a person’s house, condo, apartment, or any other structure where a person is residing.  The same two ways to commit the crime of burglary also apply to residential burglary.

Possession of Burglary Tools

There are certain tools that are considered related to the crime of burglary in Illinois. Lock picking instruments, unauthorized master keys, and tools like bolt cutters that are designed to help you gain illegal entry all qualify as burglary tools. To own these lock picking tools is a crime, as well as if you are found in possession of legal tools like bolt cutters while in the commission of a burglary. If you are caught with them, you will face charges of a Class 4 Felony and a potential 1 to 3 years in prison.


Illinois Burglary Penalties

Usually, burglary charges are considered Class 2 Felony charges and carry 3 to 7 years in prison. But, if the offense was committed in a day care facility or similar business or in a place of worship, the charges can be elevated to a Class 1 Felony, carrying 4 to 15 years in prison.  A person convicted of burglary may be eligible to receive probation as opposed to a prison sentence.

Residential Burglary Penalties

When you commit a burglary on someone’s home, it is considered far more serious than when it is committed upon a business or similar building. This is always charged as a Class 1 Felony, again carrying a potential 4 to 15 years in prison.   For a conviction of  residential burglary, probation, periodic imprisonment or conditional discharge can not be imposed on the defendant and the court shall sentence the offender for not less than the minimum sentence of 4 years.