Each state has specific definitions of burglary. Generally, burglary is a crime that involves illegal entry of a building with an intent to commit a crime like steal property while inside, but other jurisdictions define burglary as using force to break a lock or window to enter someone’s home during night time.
Burglary is almost always considered a felony but there are degrees of severity based on certain factors. First degree burglary has the greatest danger of physical injury when a burglar enters an inhabited building but in order jurisdictions, first degree burglary includes entry at night rather than daytime regardless of whether the building is inhabited or not.
In the past, burglary laws required proof that the defendant has forcefully opened a door, window or some other part of the building to gain entry. Nowadays, the act of entering a building through an open window or unlocked door is enough to get a burglary conviction.
Old burglary laws referred only to homes and only if the crime was committed at night. What comes to mind when talking about burglary is a masked man with a sack breaking into a property at night with the intention to steal money and property. Burglary laws today apply to all kinds of structures including portable ones like cars, mobile homes and boats. Illegally entering a building with the intention to commit a crime is sufficient for a robbery conviction.
For example, John was charged with burglary because according to the prosecution, John took a bottle of perfume from a drugstore as present to his girlfriend for her birthday. John admitted the crime and asked the judge to convict him for petty theft or misdemeanour. John will be convicted for burglary if the prosecution can prove that there is an intention to steal when he entered the drugstore.
If you are accused of burglary, your best option to call Donich Law immediately. A criminal defence lawyer knows that there must be a specific intent to commit a crime to be charged with burglary. An experienced lawyer can work to have the client convicted for a lesser offense like misdemeanour.