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Is Breaking Into A Car A Felony In Illinois?

Posted on in Criminal Law

wheaton defense lawyerPolice recently arrested three teens who allegedly broke into several cars one night in Elmhurst, a town on the DuPage and Cook county border. Area residents called the police after seeing the teens pulling on car door handles. An investigation revealed that they allegedly gained entry to three cars and stole from one. Police charged the teens with one count of Burglary to a Motor Vehicle and two counts of Criminal Trespass to a Motor Vehicle.  Burglary involves an unlawful invasion of privacy. Furthermore, entering a property without permission can lead to violence between the offender and property occupants. For these reasons, burglary is considered a felony offense in Illinois. 

Burglary to a Motor Vehicle

According to the Illinois Criminal Code, there is only one definition for burglary. Burglary occurs when:

  • An individual enters a building or structure without permission
  • The individual intends to commit a felony or theft

Burglary is not limited to residential houses and apartments. The offense may involve a house trailer, aircraft, watercraft, railroad car, or motor vehicle. The law equates a vehicle to a residence because people could (and sometimes do) live in a vehicle. 

Burglary to a Motor Vehicle, which police often abbreviate to BMV, is a relatively simple and easy crime to commit. All you have to do is open an unlocked door on a car that does not belong to you and take something without permission. 

In Illinois, Burglary to a Motor Vehicle is typically considered a Class 3 felony. If convicted, you could be sentenced to five to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. If you damage the vehicle, you could be charged with a Class 2 felony, which carries a three- to seven-year prison sentence and $25,000 fine.

Contact a DuPage Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are facing a burglary to motor vehicle charge or regular burglary charge, contact a seasoned DuPage criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Before Stephen A. Brundage became an attorney more than 30 years ago, he served the community as a police officer. He is well-versed in Illinois criminal law and knows how to build an aggressive defense against criminal charges. Call 630-260-9647 for a free consultation today.




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