Charged With Burglary? Here's What You Should Know

No one likes getting accused of committing a crime. This is even more true for those who are actually innocent of whatever they are being accused of. When the crime is punishable with jail time, as burglary usually is, it's time to employ the expertise of a burglary offense law service. Here is what you should know about these charges.

What Constitutes Burglary?

In most states, burglary is essentially defined as the illegal entrance into a residential dwelling, commercial building, or vehicle with the intent to steal or commit another felony.

Is Burglary Always A Felony?

In most states, burglary is a felony. Some states do break it down into First Degree, Second Degree, and even Third Degree. A lesser degree may be charged as a misdemeanor, but this is rare, and the accused must have an otherwise spotless record. A guilty conviction could mean a prison sentence of anywhere from one to twenty-five years in most jurisdictions.

What Must A Prosecutor Prove To Secure A Conviction?

Certain elements of the crime of burglary must be proven in order to be found guilty. The first thing they must prove is that you indeed entered a dwelling, building, or vehicle. Secondly, they need to prove that the said entry was in fact unauthorized. This means that you didn't have the legal right to enter the premises to begin with. Next, they have to prove that at the time you entered, you had the intent to commit a theft or other crime and that you actually did so.

Proving that entry into a dwelling, building, or vehicle was unauthorized is not as straightforward as it may initially seem. Who says it was unauthorized? For example, busting into a stranger's home may likely be unauthorized, but what about the man who enters the home he lived in until his wife got angry and kicked him out the week before? There can be gray areas for every element of the crime of burglary.

The American jurisprudence system is built on a presumption of innocence unless the facts of the case prove to a judge or jury of their peers that they are beyond a reasonable doubt guilty. This must be proven for every single element of the crime. If a judge or jury cannot find the accused guilty of every single element of the crime of burglary, they must be acquitted of the charges.

Being charged with burglary is a serious situation that should not be handled on one's own. If you have been charged or believe you will be, contact a criminal defense attorney immediately.