Articles Tagged with theft

jaanus-jagomagi-377699-unsplash-copy-200x300Burglary denotes illegal entry into a building with the intention of stealing property or money. In reality, burglary covers several possible circumstances. The recent burglary attempt in Naperville is one such instance. An 18-year-old and three other teens were involved. Charges of burglary can result in serious charges, depending on the situation.

Burglary as a Criminal Offense

Illinois law has listed several situations that constitute burglary. For instance, illegal entry can signify gaining entry under false pretenses. Normally, Class 2 felony is the sentence given for burglary. This can lead to a prison term of three to seven years, depending on the case.

zjrupeakpzi-aidan-meyerOne of the most common crimes in Chicago is that of possession of a stolen vehicle. For a defense attorney such cases present certain peculiarities and challenges, but they also present opportunities to develop a deeper understanding of the law. Understandably, the defendant may try to claim a lack of knowledge about the origin of the car, but the investigating officers are normally well versed in the critical aspects of discovery. They will most certainly ensure that the mens rea is proved. The Actus Reus is normally a foregone conclusion since in most cases the suspect is caught red handed, usually in the commission of a traffic offense.

Implications for the Defendant

The indicative term of imprisonment is anywhere between three and seven years; quite a stiff sentence when one considers the fact that defendants who are involved in major violence and significant economic crimes might get a shorter term (see People vs Wright). The value of the car in question can be a mitigating or aggravating feature. For example, a car that is worth more than $10,000 will normally attract a Class 2 felony charge. Other aggravating features include the use of deception and threats. There are instances in which the offense is merely a conduit for more serious charges such as grand auto theft or even robbery. Therefore, it is imperative for the defending attorney to have as much information about the case as possible before it moves to arraignment and trial.

800px-Packaged_ElectronicsReceiving stolen property is one of the more elusive offenses on the Chicago statute books but it has been prosecuted vigorously on account of the fact that it is part of a network of criminality that must be broken from its source. The person that receives stolen property is not only benefitting from a crime but is also making it difficult for the law enforcement authorities to successfully recover the stolen property. Therefore, the criminal justice system has been harsh on defendants in these circumstances. Defense attorneys need to be wary of the prejudices that often plague these cases. The chain of custody before arriving at the final recipient can also cause unique challenges for the defense attorney.

Key Considerations as Part of the Defense Preparations

The strategy that is preferred is to focus on the other defendants so as to take the heat off the person who may not have done the robbery or theft but is indeed the final recipient of the goods or money. The problems start to mount when it is a joint enterprise or conspiracy. In such situations the defendant may have to fight off a presumption that he or she is the mastermind whereas the actual thieves are only footmen and women for the grand scheme. Needless to say defendants who the prosecution successfully labels as being criminal masterminds can expect unusually stiff penalties, even when the discretions of the sentencing guidelines are taken into consideration. Luckily for the vast majority of defense attorneys, the cases are usually on the low end. The person that engaged in the actual stealing action (particularly if it is upgraded to robbery) will bear the brunt of the court’s wrath.

file000340814082Home invasions have been the fodder for criminal defense attorneys in Illinois for ages. Recently there has been a growing conversation around the response of the homeowner and whether he or she is legally protected. States like Florida have a stand-your-ground provision which has sometimes led to tragic consequences. To make matters worse, some of these incidents are alleged to involve an element of racial animus. One need only look back at the circus surrounding the George Zimmerman case to realize that self-defense is never as simple as it looks on paper when the laws are first drafted.

Burglaries are going to continue and defense lawyers are going to continue to use every trick in the book to get an acquittal or generous sentence for their clients. This article highlights some of the important considerations for the law as it stands but also the implications for defendants and homeowners.

A Law that is a Series of Compromises and Interests

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On Wednesday, October 21, 2015, a man robbed an Irving Park neighborhood bank located on the Northwest side. According to witnesses, the man walked into the Wintrust Bank branch at 4343 N. Elston Ave. between 4:00 and 4:30 in the afternoon, gave the teller a note demanding cash, and then ran away with an unspecified amount of money, according to Chicago Police and the FBI. The suspect has not been caught at this time, but if he is caught, he will face serious federal charges and a lengthy prison sentence.

Bank Robbery Charges

If you are charged with bank robbery, it is always a federal offense. To be convicted of bank robbery, the assistant U.S. Attorney must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person took or tried to take money or property from an institution that is federally insured. Even if you are arrested for allegedly stealing from an ATM, you will be charged with bank robbery.