Burglary charges are a serious matter, and as such, they carry serious consequences for anyone who is found guilty of them. For a criminal defense attorney with experience helping people fight burglary charges, contact the Attorney at Law, John B. Pike. With years of experience and a deep understanding of the law, he is well-equipped to fight for your rights and defend you against these charges.
What are Burglary Charges?
Burglary charges are brought against a person who is accused of unlawfully entering or remaining in a building or structure with the intent to commit a crime inside. It’s a common misconception that burglary is a theft crime, but it’s a form of breaking and entering.
You can be charged with burglary for illegally entering any building you don’t have permission to enter, including homes, businesses, government buildings, and everything else.
It is important to note that burglary charges do not require the actual commission of a crime, only the intent to commit a crime beyond trespassing as you are breaking.
How are Burglary Charges Different from Other Theft Charges?
Burglary charges are often confused with theft charges such as robbery or larceny. While many burglary crimes involve taking someone else’s property, burglary is not uniformly about theft.
Robbery, on the other hand, involves taking someone’s property by using force or fear. Larceny is simply theft without any type of force or unlawful entry. You can’t commit robbery or larceny without having at least the intention to steal something.
Punishments for Burglary in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, the punishments for burglary charges are determined by the specifics of the crime and are outlined in Title 18, Section 3502 of Pennsylvania’s State Legislature.
Illegally entering unoccupied buildings or structures that are not meant to house people overnight is a first-degree felony. This conviction carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.
If the building or structure is adapted for overnight accommodation and is unoccupied, the crime is considered a second-degree felony. This conviction carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.
Additional Punishments for Burglary
First and second-degree felonies are the difference between breaking into someone’s home and breaking into a business. A home is considered a less serious offense than breaking into a business. There are special circumstances that can raise breaking into a home to a felony of the first degree, such as the use of a weapon. The punishments for aggravated burglary are more severe, with up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $25,000.
If the defendant is found to have injured anyone during the burglary or if anyone was present at the time of the burglary, the crime is elevated to a felony of the first degree, regardless of the type of building involved. This can result in a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
If a firearm is used during the commission of the burglary, additional penalties can be applied under Pennsylvania’s sentencing guidelines for crimes committed with firearms.
Remember, these punishments are not guaranteed outcomes, and having a competent criminal defense attorney like John B. Pike can greatly affect the final verdict.
Defending Against Burglary Charges
If you are facing burglary charges, it is crucial to have a strong defense strategy. A skilled criminal defense attorney like John B. Pike can work with you to build a solid defense and protect your rights. Some common defenses against burglary charges include lack of intent, mistaken identity, and improper search and seizure by law enforcement.