A DuPage County couple was arrested and charged in early December with two counts each of burglary, and additional counts of retail theft, for allegedly stealing and selling more than $4,000 worth of merchandise from a string of DuPage County Walmart stores. The charges are Class 2 and Class 3 felonies, respectively. Police allege the couple stole and later sold the items to feed their drug addiction.
DuPage County Commercial Burglary Charge
In Illinois, burglary is committed when a person knowingly and without authority enters, or knowingly and without authority remains, within a building with the intent to commit theft or another felony within the building. Although most people consider burglary to be entering a residence with the intent to steal, a person can be charged with burglary if he enters a building with the intent to kill, rape, or commit any other felony.
In this case, the defendants allegedly committed the classic case of burglary when they entered Walmart with the intention of stealing store goods. Burglary of a commercial building is a lesser offense than burglary of a person’s home, because of the less intimate nature of unlawfully entering a store versus a residence.
The goal of any criminal defense attorney is to get his client the best possible result, and in all cases attorneys strive to get the charges against his client dismissed, or to obtain an acquittal in court. But as I have discussed before on this blog, in some situations the evidence makes it appear unlikely that the defense will be able to obtain an acquittal, or to have the charges dismissed. In those cases, the best defense is to obtain a reduction in charges, either by disproving certain required elements of the charged offense or entering into a plea agreement with the prosecution, or to seek alternative sentencing.
Cases such as this are an example of a situation where a criminal defense attorney with experience handling burglary cases can possibly help the defendants avoid prison though alternative sentencing.
Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC) is a non-profit organization that offers behavioral health recovery services for people with substance abuse issues. Courts and prosecutors can refer certain offenders who meet requirements established by the Illinois legislature to TASC programs in lieu of prison.
Under the law, a drug addict who is charged with or convicted of any non-violent felony may elect treatment under the supervision of a program licensed by the Illinois Department of Human Services. If the defendant meets the eligibility criteria as outlined in the statute, he may be ordered to serve probation in a TASC treatment program for a period equal to the maximum sentence that could be imposed for conviction of the charged offense or five years, whichever is less. Upon completion of the program, the court may vacate the criminal conviction and dismiss the criminal proceedings, if the defendant has no prior felony convictions.
Too often theft crimes are perpetrated by individuals struggling with substance and looking for a way to feed their addiction. Sentencing these defendants to prison for anywhere from four up to 15 years does nothing to help them break free of the addiction, which was the root cause of their crime, and only sets them up to continue the cycle of drugs, crime and prison when they are released. Prison diversion programs like TASC work to help defendants break free from addiction so they can go on to lead productive lives, and make our communities safer.
DuPage County Burglary Attorney
If you have been arrested and charged with non-residential burglary in DuPage County, Skokie or Chicago, and you are struggling with substance abuse or alcohol addiction, you may be able to avoid prison and move directly to probation. With close to 20 years’ experience handling residential and commercial burglary cases in the Chicago area, DuPage County burglary attorney David L. Freidberg understands not only the common procedural mistakes law enforcement makes when investigating these cases, but about qualifying eligible defendants for prison diversion programs like TASC. Contact the Law Offices of David L. Freidberg, P.C. 24/7 at 312.560.7100 to schedule your free consultation.