Burglary is always a felony, but the level increases depending on the place that was entered. Burglary of a Dwelling (residence) is a second degree felony and scores a prison sentence, even for a first offense.
Burglary of a Structure (building, shed, etc) and Burglary of a Conveyance (car) are third degree felonies. These offenses can be enhanced if they were occupied at the time of entry or if a firearm was carried (or even stolen from inside).
Burglary not only encompasses the place itself, but often the area surrounding them, called “curtilage”. Curtilage can include the area inside a fence surrounding the property or anything under the roofline, in the carport, or porch.
Defenses to burglary may vary widely, depending on the events leading to the arrest. Often, everyone in a car is charged with burglary even though some occupants had no knowledge of the crime. Possession of recently stolen property can lead to a burglary charge even though it was recently purchased or given as a gift. Sometimes, property is entered just for shelter and not to commit a crime. Mistaken identification and untruthful testimony can also result in an unwarranted burglary charge.
A knowledgeable attorney can investigate all the circumstances of a burglary accusation to mount a strong defense. Careful analysis of the physical evidence, testimony, and the law may lead to an acquittal. Filing motions to suppress unlawfully gained evidence from a search or from an uncounseled confession can lead to a better result for the client.
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