Being charged with burglary is a very serious matter that can cost you your freedom for many years if you are found guilty. Anyone charged with this offense needs to know as much as they can about the legal system as it applies to burglary. Here is closer look at burglary offense law.
The law has a specific definition of burglary. Most state legal codes have three conditions that must be met for an incident to be defined as a burglary. First, the perpetrator must be guilty of breaking and entering. Second, a structure, such as a residence or commercial building, must be involved. Third, the perpetrator must have the intent to commit a crime before he or she gains entry to the building or house.
One important caveat regarding this definition is that an abandoned structure does not usually qualify. So, if you broke into an abandoned building, you might be guilty of other crimes, but you would not be guilty of burglary.
Several possible defenses are available to any individual charged with burglary. The best defense is actual innocence. If you did not commit the offense, then an experienced lawyer should be able to convince a jury that you are not guilty.
Another possible defense is having the consent of the property owner. If the owner consented to your presence on the property, then you are not guilty of burglary, although you might be guilty of another crime.
Also, if your attorney can show that you did not intend to commit a crime before you illegally entered a structure, this would eliminate one of the core elements of a burglary charge, so the burglary law would not apply. Once again, however, the lack of a core element of a burglary charge does not mean no crime occurred. You might still be charged with a lesser crime, such as theft.
The sentences that the law imposes on those convicted of burglary vary greatly. For one thing, the relevant state laws might require a specific sentence of, say, five years, or grant the judge leeway to choose from a range of sentences, such as five to 10 years. So, your sentence, if you are found guilty, will depend on the specifics of the burglary statutes in your state.
Another key point regarding sentencing is the degree of burglary with which you are charged. For example, if you committed a burglary while carrying a gun, the prosecutor may charge you with first-degree burglary. This carries a stiffer sentence than third-degree burglary, which is a less serious offense.
No person facing a burglary charge can deal with the situation on their own. To put up a strong defense, you need to contact a qualified criminal lawyer.