Burglary is possibly one of the most misunderstood crimes that is part of the crimes code today. When most people think of burglary, they imagine a scenario like in one of those home security alarm commercials. A man in a black ski mask breaks in the glass on the front door with a crowbar, comes in and starts stealing everything in sight. However, the reality is that many far more benign acts fall under the umbrella of “burglary.” What a person accused of burglary may think was a simple theft or vandalism is actually a burglary, which is a serious felony one offense!
The simple definition of burglary is entry into a building or occupied structure with the intent to commit a crime therein. The severity of the charge varies depending on whether someone was present on the premises or not, and whether the building is adapted for overnight accommodations. Basically it is seen as a more serious crime if someone is there or could be expected to spend the night there, as there is a higher risk of a dangerous physical confrontation.
Unlike the popular conception relating a burglary to a “breaking and entering” where a person must force their way into a stranger’s residence, a burglary can happen to anyone and doesn’t require someone breaking in the windows or front door. A large portion of burglaries are committed against people who know the alleged burglar. That may include parents, friends, relatives, or someone’s workplace. The burglar seeks money or property, often to sell to support a drug habit, and comes by the person’s residence when they are not permitted to be there. They sneak in, and take property, believing they are committing only a small theft of less than a few hundred dollars. Many defendants are then surprised when upon their arrest they find that they are facing Felony One Burglary charges!
There are several defenses to burglary. It is a defense to burglary if at the commission of the time of the offense, the building was abandoned, the building was open to the public, or if the defendant had authorization to enter. The defendant’s state of mind when committing the theft or other attendant crime is a key element of the offense as well.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a burglary, the potential consequences of this charge are very serious. It’s important that you consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in the field of criminal defense.
Attorney Frank Walker of Frank Walker Law is a National Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer and Personal Injury Attorney with offices in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and Morgantown West Virginia. Attorney Walker is also a member of the National College for DUI Defense, Super Lawyer and qualified as a Pennsylvania Death Penalty Defense Attorney.
If you or someone you love are facing criminal charges or seriously injured in an accident in WV or PA, contact Attorney Frank Walker immediately at 412-532-6805, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for aggressive and experienced Criminal Defense or Representation following a serious accident or injury.