Theft, Robbery & Burglary Lawyer in Chicago
Differences Between Theft, Robbery, and Burglary
What Is Theft?
In Illinois, there are several classes of offenses that constitute "theft." A theft may occur as a result of deception, by force, or threat of force. A theft might be a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine, or it might be charged as a more serious felony depending upon the circumstances and the value of the property.
Generally speaking, when we think of a theft it usually involves a person taking the property or services of another without the permission or consent of the owner. For example, if you fill up your gas tank at a gas station and drive off without paying, that is a theft. If you go to a department store and take merchandise off the shelves and leave the store without paying, that is also theft.
The law offices of Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC have handled thousands of theft-related cases over the last 25 years. Our Chicago criminal defense lawyers know the best ways to help you to avoid jail and protect your record. Call us now at (800) 996-4824.
What Are Theft of Services and Identity Theft?
A theft does not even require actual property to be taken or stolen. A theft of services occurs when a person fails to pay before or after a service has been rendered. When a person jumps a turnstile at a train station to avoid paying for a train fare, this is an example of theft of services. So is failing to pay a cab driver or Uber driver.
Another type of theft involves using another person’s identity and personal information without his or her permission to obtain money, services, or property. That is called identity theft.
When you attempt to pass a bad check that is a form of theft as well. An important element required to prove a theft in court is whether there was consent or permission from the lawful owner of said property. The use of force or the threat of force is not a necessary element or requirement to prove theft.
What Is Robbery?
A robbery is a theft with the use of force or threat of force. A robbery is a felony and it has several categories depending on the amount of force or the type of weapon used. A robbery is generally a much more serious crime than just theft and carries much harsher penalties and longer penitentiary sentences.
For example, someone commits a robbery when he threatens to hit or actually punches another individual in order to obtain that person’s wallet or other property. A robbery is presently a Class 2 felony punishable by three to seven years in prison. If a person combines the use of force or actual force with any verbal or physical indications that he or she has a weapon of any kind while committing a theft, then this offense becomes "aggravated robbery." An aggravated robbery is presently a Class 1 felony punishable by four to 15 years in prison.
What Is Armed Robbery?
The most serious offense under the robbery statute is armed robbery. In short, an armed robbery is a theft committed using force or the threat of force and the person must have had a dangerous weapon present when the crime was committed.
An example of an armed robbery is when a person pulls a knife on a victim and threatens to stab him unless he hands over his cell phone. It does not matter at all if it later turns out that the knife was a fake, therefore no knife was really present. It only matters that the individual being threatened believed that a dangerous weapon was present. Armed robbery is presently a Class X felony punishable by six to 30 years in prison.
When an armed robbery is committed with a firearm present, then it becomes an even more serious offense. That individual faces an additional 15 years in prison added on to the original Class X sentence handed down by the court. When a person fires or discharges a firearm during an armed robbery, then that person will receive an additional 20 years added on to any punishment given out. When a person uses a firearm that causes great bodily harm or death to another person, then the person will receive an additional 25 years or up to a term of natural life in addition to the sentence imposed by the court.
What Is Burglary?
Burglary is where a person enters a car, boat, airplane, or a building without permission or consent with the intent to a commit a theft or felony. A burglary is a Class 2 felony punishable by three to seven years in prison. It is important to note that under the burglary statute, it is not required that a person actually commits a theft or takes anything of value. What is important is that the person entered a place without permission with the intent to commit a crime. A person who enters an unlocked car without permission and takes a couple of CDs is still committing a burglary even though the items taken were of little to no value.
What Is Residential Burglary?
Residential burglary is another form of burglary that is even more serious. Residential burglary is when a person enters or remains in the dwelling place of another person without permission or consent with the intent to commit a theft or felony. This law covers a person who invades an individual’s private residence or home. A person who enters an unlocked car without permission and takes some change commits a burglary. But if the car is parked inside a garage, the person has now entered the dwelling place of another - this is now a residential burglary. A residential burglary is a Class 1 felony punishable by four to 15 years in prison. Again, it is not a requirement under residential burglary that anything of value was taken, only that an individual intended to commit a felony or theft while entering a dwelling without permission or consent of the owner.
Protect Your Rights. Call Now.
Whether you’re charged with a theft, robbery, burglary, or any other type of crime, call us now for free information about how your rights can be protected. With thousands of satisfied clients and over 25 years of criminal experience, the legal team at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC can offer you the help you need. Call (800) 996-4824 for free information.