Service & Results.

nyc criminal lawyers over 30 years of experienceWe Know How To Win Cases

Spodek Law Group handles tough cases
nationwide, that demand excellence.

Get Free Consultation

Faced 5+ Years in Prison

People Vs Joseph Amico

Covered by NYDaily News. Las Vegas man accused of threatening a prominent attorney and making vile remarks.

Faced 10+ Years in Prison

People Vs. Anna Sorokin

Covered by New York Times, and other outlets. Fake heiress accused of conning the city’s wealthy, and has an HBO special being made about her.

Faced 3+ Years in Prison

People Vs. Genevieve Sabourin

Accused of stalking Alec Baldwin. The case garnered nationwide attention, with USAToday, NYPost, and other media outlets following it closely.

Faced Potential Charges

Ghislaine Maxwell Juror

Juror who prompted calls for new Ghislaine Maxwell trial turns to lawyer who defended Anna Sorokin.

Why Choose Us

Clients can use our portal to track the status of their case, stay in touch with us, upload documents, and more.

Regardless of the type of situation you're facing, our attorneys are here to help you get quality representation.

We can setup consultations in person, over Zoom, or over the phone to help you. Bottom line, we're here to help you win your case.

Law in the Media

View All

Meet Todd Spodek


The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

Todd Spodek is a second generation attorney with immense experience. He has many years of experience handling 100’s of tough and hard to win trials. He’s been featured on major news outlets, such as New York Post, Newsweek, Fox 5 New York, South China Morning Post, Insider.com, and many others.

In 2022, Netflix released a series about one of Todd’s clients: Anna Delvey/Anna Sorokin.

Why Clients Choose Spodek Law Group

The reason is simple: clients want white glove service, and lawyers who can win. Every single client who works with the Spodek Law Group is aware that the attorney they hire could drastically change the outcome of their case. Hiring the Spodek Law Group means you’re taking your future seriously. Our lawyers handle cases nationwide, ranging from NYC to LA. Our philosophy is fair and simple: our nyc criminal lawyers only take on clients who we know will benefit from our services.

We’re selective about the clients we work with, and only take on cases we know align with our experience – and where we can make a difference. This is different from other law firms who are not invested in your success nor care about your outcome.

If you have a legal issue, call us for a consultation.
We are available 24/7, to help you with any – and all, challenges you face.

New York Penal Law %c2%a7 140 20 Burglary Third Degree

By Spodek Law Group | July 17, 2023
(Last Updated On: July 27, 2023)

Last Updated on: 27th July 2023, 04:35 pm

Charged with Burglary in the Third Degree in New York? Here’s What You Need to Know

Finding out you’ve been charged with burglary in the third degree can be terrifying. Burglary charges can carry heavy penalties in New York, including potential prison time. But having an experienced criminal defense lawyer can mean the difference between getting your charges reduced or dismissed versus going to jail.

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn:

  • What “burglary in the third degree” means under NY penal code § 140.20
  • Common defense strategies lawyers use to fight these charges
  • How to find the best attorney for your burglary case
  • Smart questions to ask lawyers during your consultation
  • Why hiring the right lawyer gives you the best chance of a favorable outcome

Let’s start by making sense of these charges…

What Does Burglary in the Third Degree Mean in New York?

Under New York Penal Law § 140.20, a person is guilty of burglary in the third degree when he or she:

“Knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a building with intent to commit a crime therein.”

There are a few key elements that make up this charge:

Unlawful Entry – The accused person enters or stays in a building without permission or authority. This could mean sneaking in through an unlocked door or window, using stolen keys, or hiding inside after hours.

Criminal Intent – The accused intended to commit another crime upon entering unlawfully. This additional offense can include larceny, assault, criminal mischief, or anything illegal.

Type of Building – Under NY statute, burglary applies to unlawful entry into any building, vehicle, or “floating vessel.” So homes, businesses, garages, and cars are all applicable.

Third degree burglary bumps the crime up to a class D felony from a lower misdemeanor and carries up to 7 years in prison. It’s applied when:

– The building is a dwelling (residence, apartment, etc)


– The accused is armed with explosives or a deadly weapon

Clearly, these are very serious charges with steep penalties if convicted. But several smart legal defenses can be raised to fight them…

Common Defenses Against Burglary Charges

While the prosecution must prove all elements of third degree burglary beyond reasonable doubt, a seasoned defense lawyer can challenge the charges by:

Disproving Criminal Intent

If you entered the building or property unintentionally (i.e. you were intoxicated and entered the wrong house) or without plans to commit any additional crime, the intent element fails.

Raising Permission as a Defense

If you had either explicit or implied permission to enter the property, such as being buzzed into an apartment by a friend, the entry was not unlawful.

Challenging the Classification

Was the building actually a “dwelling” as required for the felony charge? Disputing details like how the place was zoned or used can downgrade charges.

Contesting Identification

Eyewitness misidentification is common. If the victim or witness gave a vague description that doesn’t match you, identification can be challenged.

Questioning Physical Evidence

Inconsistent forensic evidence like fingerprints or DNA that don’t implicate you can undermine the DA’s proof of your involvement.

There are almost always opportunities to fight these allegations and raise doubt around the supposed events. An attorney experienced in dissecting burglary cases will know how to exploit these weaknesses for the best defense.

Finding the Right Lawyer for Your Burglary Case

All defense lawyers are NOT created equal. To beat these charges, you need someone with specific skills and experience fighting NY burglary cases. Here are top traits to look for:

Knowledge of New York Criminal Law – They are intimately familiar with NY penal code, sentencing guidelines, and court procedures for felony charges.

Record Getting Charges Dismissed – They have successfully defended other burglary cases and gotten charges reduced or dropped completely.

Trial Experience – They have litigation experience taking cases like yours to trial if plea deals can’t be reached.

Investigative Capabilities – They aggressively investigate details of the allegations to build the strongest defense.

Negotiation Skills – They can leverage flaws in the DA’s case to secure favorable plea bargains if needed.

Focus on New York Courts – Ensure they handle cases regularly in NY courts rather than out-of-state. Familiarity with local prosecutors is a plus.

Accessibility – They are available to talk/meet on short notice and make you feel like a priority.

Record of Ethics – They have clean disciplinary history, good standing with bar associations, and positive client reviews.

Doing your research and asking the right questions during an initial consultation can reveal if a lawyer stacks up or not.

Questions to Ask During a Burglary Case Consultation

When meeting with potential defense counsel about your burglary charges, you should ask:

– How much experience do you have specifically defending burglary charges in New York?

– What are the most common strategies and defenses you use to fight these cases?

– Based on the details I shared, where do you see the weaknesses in the evidence against me?

– What are possible options for getting charges dismissed or reduced?

– How many cases similar to mine have you taken to trial compared to plea bargained?

– If my case may go to trial, are you comfortable acting as lead counsel?

– Will you be handling my case directly or passing it off to an associate?

– What is your policy on regular case updates and communication with clients?

– How quickly do you return calls, emails, and urgent requests from clients?

– What examples can you share of past burglary cases you have successfully defended?

Listen closely to their responses and make sure they align with the expertise criteria above. Gut feelings about an attorney’s experience and commitment to aggressively defending you also matter.

Why Hiring the Right Lawyer Matters

At the end of the day, the lawyer you choose can have a huge impact on the outcome of your burglary charges. Here are key benefits of hiring the best counsel:

Reduced Risk of Conviction – Their skills and experience give you the greatest chance of raising doubt, getting the case dismissed, or securing a not guilty verdict if necessary.

Lower Penalties – Even if charges aren’t dropped, they can negotiate reduced sentencing exposure through plea bargaining based on flaws in the prosecutor’s case.

Smoother Process – An organized, communicative lawyer will reduce anxiety through timely case updates, explaining what comes next, and setting expectations.

Avoiding Mistakes – Their expertise ensures you don’t make missteps when interacting with police and prosecutors or testifying that could hurt your case down the road.

Negotiation Leverage – Prosecutors and judges respect counsel with strong reputation and litigation skills, giving them greater leverage in negotiations.

Peace of Mind – Knowing you have a highly competent legal advocate in your corner willing to go the distance provides immense relief.

While hiring an attorney always requires financial investment, in criminal cases, it’s wise to prioritize quality representation above all else. The consequences of losing are too great.

Bottom line – combining burglary law expertise, investigative prowess, negotiation skills, and trial experience gives you a significant advantage. Hiring a lawyer who checks these boxes makes it much more likely your charges will get dismissed or reduced – keeping your freedom and criminal record intact.

Don’t Gamble with Your Future

If you or a loved one have been arrested for burglary charges anywhere in New York, don’t leave the outcome to chance. The legal system is complex. Police and prosecutors play by their own rules. You need to level the playing field with counsel who’s ready to fight tooth and nail for you.

Every case is different, but with the right strategy and representation, we can uncover flaws, expose reasonable doubt, and put you in the strongest possible position for a positive resolution.

I urge you – reach out today to schedule your free initial consultation, or give me a call anytime at 212-300-5196. I am standing by ready to help 24/7. Don’t take on New York burglary charges alone. Let’s start crafting your winning defense!

About the Author

Naomi Rothwell is a former Manhattan prosecutor who handled hundreds of felony cases before building her reputation as a tough NYC defense lawyer. She leads the criminal defense team at Spodek Law Group.

Free Consultation


I was searching for a law firm with some power to help me deal with a warrant in New York . After 6 days I decided to go with Spodek Law Group. It helped that This law firm is well respected by not only the top law firms in New York , but the DA , Judge as well. I...

~Fonder Brandon

5 Stars
It was my good fortune to retain Spodek Law Group for representation for my legal needs. From the beginning, communication was prompt and thorough. Todd, Kenneth and Alex were the first people I worked with and they all made me feel comfortable and confident that the team was going to work hard for me. Everything was explained and any concerns...

~A G

5 Stars
After meeting with several law firms, I chose the Spodek Law Group not only for their professionalism and experience, but for the personal attention given to me right from the initial consultation. It is important to recognize how crucial having the right legal team is when faced with potentially life altering events that impact families and the lives of loved...

~George Cherubini

Spodek Law Group

White Glove Service

We Provide Superior Service, Excellent Results, At A Level Superior To Other Criminal Defense Law Firms. Regardless Of Where Your Case Is, Nationwide, We Can Help You.
View More

Request Free Consultation

Please fill out the form below to receive a free consultation, we will respond to
your inquiry within 24-hours guaranteed.


85 Broad St 30th Floor, New York, NY 10004


get directions

Los Angeles

611 S Catalina St Suite 222, Los Angeles, CA 90005


get directions


35-37 36th St, 2nd Floor Astoria, NY 11106


get directions


195 Montague St., 14th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201


get directions
Call Now!