Burglary is a crime also referred to as housebreaking or breaking and entering. For this crime to be committed, a defendant must enter a building or another location unlawfully. They must also have the intention of committing some crime or other offense. Usually, the intended offense is theft.
It’s not required for a person to physically break and enter a home for a burglary charge to be applicable. An offender might walk through an open door. This crime is different from robbery. For a robbery to occur, an individual must use fear or force to obtain the property of another person. During a burglary, generally no victim is present.
Burglary has been a crime fr a long period of time. Originally, burglary was defined under common law. In the United States, different states have incorporated burglary into their individual penal codes. There have been some slight modifications, however. In common law’s burglary definition, the crime needed to have taken place during the night. Most state statutes broaden this definition to include crimes committed during the day. Common law originally only included crimes committed in households, but state definitions have broadened the crime to include businesses and other properties as well.
The crime of burglary was developed to protect the interest people have in their home. It’s also meant to prevent potential violence from erupting. The intention wasn’t to protect against potential theft, since there are other crimes to deal with stealing property. Burglary charges safeguard a person’s home against potential violence and unlawful entry.
The components of a burglary will differ depending on the state in which the crime took place. In most states, though, the definition of burglary remains the same. For a crime to be considered a burglary, the following criteria must be met:
- A person broke and entered without authorization
- They entered an occupied structure or building
- Their intention was to commit some type of crime
Potential Sentencing for Burglaries
The sentence a person might face for burglary will vary depending on a number of different factors. The jury will need to convict them of the offense. Then, the judge will be responsible for sentencing the defendant. The judge will create the sentence based around the statutes and the circumstances surrounding the case. The degree of the charge also plays a part in the severity of the sentence.
In most states, burglary statutes have a number of different options for judges to choose from. Some statutes list a number of distinct sentences, while some will contain ranges of years and fines that a defendant might be subject to.
Judges will first consider the sentences outlined in the statutes, otherwise known as statutory ranges. They will also take into consideration any mitigating and aggravating factors involved in the case. Aggravating factors involve aspects of the case that increase its seriousness. One aggravating factor might be a vulnerable victim’s presence, or a defendant taking a leadership role in a multi-person burglary.
Mitigating factors are the inverse of this. They encourage judges to reduce a sentence’s severity. If a defendant has no previous criminal record, and they’re willing to take responsibility for their offense, an attorney can argue that they should have a lessened sentence.
If you’re accused of burglary, it’s important to get in contact with an attorney. Your attorney should have experience with negotiating criminal law in your state. They’ll be able to review the facts of your case, understand the charges against you, and make a plan to move forward in the future. Attorneys understand the way that the criminal justice system operates. Law enforcement and the prosecution are not your friends. You need your defense attorney to help you face the power of the criminal justice system.
Your attorney should be present at your arraignment and all questioning. Always remember that you have a right to your attorney’s presence during questioning.