Burglary is a crime directed against one's home and property. It’s trespassing into a building with the intent of committing a felony. There is no need to use force upon trespassing. The burglar can even enter through an open door. Unlike in robbery, the use of force upon entering is required to fall under the crime.
When burglary is intended for a commercial building, it is called commercial burglary. It covers shops, office buildings, stores, and other commercial establishments. The intention to steal and then doing it goes together with the entering of the burglar. It also covers the act of entering such commercial buildings with the intent of committing other felonies aside from stealing.
Residential burglary or first¬ degree burglary does not only involve a house, but also covers other places where people can live in like an apartment or a houseboat. It is more serious than commercial burglary because it involves conduct like physical violence directed towards the homeowner. That makes it a strike offense.
- Lawful Entry. The defendant can claim that he was permitted by the homeowner or the store owner to enter the premises.
- Lack of Intent to Commit a Crime.Upon entering the premises, there was no intention on the part of the defendant to commit a felony.
- Building or Structure. Burglary does not usually cover open spaces. The act of entering has to be inside the structure itself and not the open spaces surrounding it. Although, in some jurisdictions, gardens and yards are part of the living space of a person.
- Jail or Prison.A felony burglary usually carries with it a jail time of 20 years while misdemeanor burglary has a jail time of up to a year in prison. It depends on the circumstances of the case.
- Fines.Felony convictions for burglary can carry with it a fine of up to $100,000. For misdemeanor convictions, there can be a fine of up to $1000.
- Probation. Probation sentences can be imposed independently of the prison sentence or in addition thereto. When under probation, the convict has to follow all the orders and conditions imposed by the court. Otherwise, he or she shall serve the first jail or prison sentence.
Whether you are a victim of burglary or being accused of committing it, you can contact Abraham and Rideout and have expert legal representation. We will guide you through the proper legal steps to take.