Home Invasion: Separate Offense from Residential Burglary
While home invasion and residential burglary have similar elements – both involve unlawfully gaining entry into the home of another – they are two distinct crimes. Home invasion has the added element of unlawful entry of another person’s home knowing that at least one person is present in the home at the time of the invasion, or gaining entry by falsely representing himself to be someone else, with the intent to cause injury to the resident.
Like burglary, home invasion is a specific intent crime. The intent required for the crime applies to several different elements. In order to gain a conviction, the prosecution must prove that the defendant knowingly:
- Entered another person’s home;
- Entered the home knowing that one or more people were present, and;
- Intended to cause harm.
In defending against a specific intent crime such as home invasion, the defense strategy is to raise as much doubt as possible regarding whether the defendant had the necessary intent for each element of the crime. The defense would therefore examine all of the circumstances surrounding the case to find any evidence that would tend to disprove intent. Such evidence may include:
- Whether the home subject to the invasion was in the vicinity of the defendant’s home. If so, we would want to examine whether the defendant was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, so that perhaps he mistakenly believed he was entering his own home, which is not a far stretch given some of today’s cookie cutter houses. If the defendant believed, even mistakenly due to his drunken state, that he entered his own home, his assault of the homeowner could not be considered intentional, since he would have believed he was protecting himself from a burglar.
- Whether the defendant and the alleged victim knew each other and had any prior altercations. Is there any evidence to suggest that the two had had a verbal or physical altercation earlier that evening, and the fight continued in the victim’s home?
- Whether the alleged victim assaulted the defendant first, prompting the defendant to retaliate in self-defense. The victim alleged that the defendant claimed he was a police officer to gain entry into the home. An examination of the victim’s history may show that he had outstanding warrants for his arrest, or past run-ins with law enforcement, so that his first reaction was to assault the “officer.”
- Whether the defendant actually entered the home. If the assault is true, it cannot be a home invasion if the defendant did not knowingly enter the home. The defense would need to examine whether the initial assault took place on the front step of the victim’s home, and the defendant was pulled inside the home during the ensuing altercation. This would result in the charges being reduced, most likely to battery.
Chicago Home Invasion Attorney
When you are arrested and charged with home invasion, contact Chicago home invasion attorney David L. Freidberg before speaking with the police. Depending on the circumstances of your case it may be possible to have the charges reduced to burglary. But that strategy may be impossible if you have already spoken to the police. With close to 20 years’ experience handling Chicago home invasion cases, David L. Freidberg knows the arguments to make that can cause police and prosecutors to reduce the charges before the case progresses. But once you speak with police, that chance may be lost. Serving clients in Chicago, Skokie and DuPage County, contact our office at 312-560-7100 today. Someone is available 24/7 for a free initial consultation.