A person who enters a building or vehicle with the intent to commit a theft or a felony crime may be charged with burglary. A person may be charged first-degree burglary if the building or vehicle is inhabited. Inhabited means currently being used for dwelling purposes, whether or not it is actually occupied. All other kinds of burglary are of the second degree. Burglary may be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor.
There is no requirement that an entry be made by breaking in or by the use of force. For example, a person may be charged with the crime of burglary even if the entry was into an open store during business hours, into his or her own house if the person does not currently live there, or even in a telephone booth if the person intends to commit a theft or a felony once inside.
It is not necessary to actually commit the crime once inside. A person may be charged with burglary if the prosecution can show that the person merely had the intent to commit a theft or a felony.
First-degree burglary is a felony and may be punished by a term in state prison for two, four, or six years.
Second-degree burglary may be filed either as a felony punishable by imprisonment in state prison for 16 months, two years, or three years, or as a misdemeanor which is punishable by not more than one year in the county jail. Other enhancements may apply depending on the situation.
Often times, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can mean the difference between prison and freedom for a person charged with burglary. There are many options and defenses that are available in all cases and no two situations are ever alike. If you or someone you know is being charged with burglary the best thing you can do is retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer who will defend your case. Contact the Sigal Law Group today for a free consultation and case evaluation.