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Burglary Charges: What Are They?

Feb, 08 2018
burglary charges

Although most people think that they know the definition of burglary, few people know of it in the legal sense. Every state has different laws requiring burglary charges. For this reason, it is hard to give a standard definition. If you find yourself facing charges of burglary, then you should learn about the crime. Here is everything that you should know about burglary charges.

What Is Burglary?

While the definition of burglary varies from state to state, there are a few standard events that define a burglary. First, there is the unauthorized breaking and entry. If no one gave you permission to enter a home, then you are unauthorized. You cannot enter a home or business without permission to do so.

Another requirement is that the breaking and entry occurs in a building or occupied structure and there is an intent to commit a crime. A crime could be arson, kidnapping, or theft. If the incident does not meet all of the requirements for burglary, then you will not face burglary charges. However, you might face other charges.

Other Similar Charges

There are other types of charges that you could face in lieu of or in addition to burglary charges. For example, the state of Rhode Island prohibits you from having any tools that you could use for a break-in. If a police officer finds those tools in your possession, then he can arrest you. Whether or not you committed burglary, you could face criminal charges for owning the tools.

If you attempt to break into a home but fail, then you could still face criminal charges. In Rhode Island, there is a charge for attempted breaking and entering. Although your crime failed, you could still face legal consequences.

One of the most common types of burglary charges in breaking and entering. It’s similar to burglary, but there is no intent to commit a crime.

Other charges involve breaking and entering, but are more specific. For example, Rhode Island has a law against breaking and entering a home that houses people who are 60 years old and older. There’s a similar law against breaking and entering a home that houses a disabled individual. In either case, the penalties are harsher than simple breaking and entering.

Some people believe that burglary and robbery are interchangeable. However, this is not the case. Robbery is a crime that involves force. If you use any type of force in your burglary attempt, then you will face robbery charges. Often, that means a harsher sentence.

The Penalties for Burglary Charges

In Rhode Island, the penalties for burglary charges are strict. If a court finds you guilty of burglary, then you face a minimum of five years in jail and a maximum of life in prison. However, other similar crimes that don’t involve the intent to commit a crime have less serious penalties. The penalty depends on the circumstances of your crime. For example, breaking and entering as a first-time offense can result in a prison sentence of between two years and ten years. There might also be a fine of as much as $10,000.

If you break and enter a home of someone who is over the age of 60, then you could face a fine of up to $15,000. The minimum jail time is four years, while the maximum jail time is 20 years.

Defending Burglary Charges

With so much at stake, you need a strong legal defense. And that means hiring an experienced lawyer. If you want a chance at having your judge dismiss the case or getting a lesser sentence, then you need help. Your lawyer can create a strategy to get you a good outcome.

There are several strategies that a lawyer can use as a defense. However, not all of those strategies will work for your situation. Your lawyer needs to hear the specifics of your case. Then, he can decide on the best course of action. Here are a few common defenses for burglary:

1. Innocence

If you are innocent, then your lawyer will try to prove that to the court. In a burglary case, the prosecution needs to prove that you committed the crime. He needs to provide enough evidence to convince the court that you are guilty. If he fails to do so, then you get an innocent verdict.

Your lawyer can create a reasonable doubt in the court’s mind. Then, they can’t convict you. To create doubt, your lawyer can attack the prosecution’s evidence. He also might be able to provide an alibi for you. If you have an alibi, then you could not be the person who committed the crime.

2. Proving that the crime does not meet the definition of burglary

If your crime does not fulfill the requirements for burglary, then the prosecution might not have a case. For example, the home’s owner might have permitted you to enter the home in the past. If he never revoked that permission, then there was no unauthorized entry.

Although it’s not easy to fight burglary charges, it is possible. Contact a lawyer to find out how he can help you.

Burglary Charges: What Are They?

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