A Focus on Burglary to Understand the Difference Between Burglary and Robbery
The crimes of burglary and robbery are commonly used interchangeably. In fact, they are separate distinct offenses with different criteria. A knowledgeable criminal attorney will help you determine the best defense to fight your burglary charges. Burglary offenses are serious felonies involving theft or violence that can cause considerable damage to a person’s reputation. A person convicted of burglary potentially faces a lengthy term imprisonment, which is why it is imperative to contact an attorney immediately. If you have been charged with burglary offenses in Anne Arundel or Howard county, retain a Glen Burnie and Columbia burglary lawyer who is qualified and experienced with Maryland criminal law.
Definition of Burglary
Breaking and entering is the common term for burglary. Burglary is defined under Maryland criminal law as the unlawful entry into a building, home, or motor vehicle intending to engage in any crime inside, including theft or a violent crime. There are four separate degrees of burglary offenses and the difference between the degrees is based on the severity of the crime. First degree is the most severe while fourth is the least severe. The penalties vary by degree; the more severe the offense, the tougher the punishment.
The Four Degrees of Burglary
First degree burglary is breaking into a dwelling with intent to carry out the crime of theft or undertake a violent crime while inside the dwelling. Breaking into a residence having the intent to commit theft is a felony crime that carries up to 20 years in prison. Breaking and entering into a residence with the resolve to carry out a violent crime is a felony that is punishable by up to 25 years.
Burglary in the second degree is a felony that carries a maximum imprisonment sentence of 15 years if a person breaks into a storehouse and intends to execute a theft, vicious disturbance, or arson. Breaking into a storehouse with the intent to steal a gun is punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Third degree burglary is the breaking and entering into a residence with intent to commit any additional crime, meaning something other than committing a violent act or theft. This felony is punishable by a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.
Burglary in the fourth degree is divided into different crimes. All fourth degree burglary crimes are misdemeanors punishable with a prison sentence of up to three years.
The categories of fourth degree burglary are:
- The trespass or entering a dwelling without permission, even without intent to commit another crime within the building.
- The possession of burglary tools with the accompanying intent to use the tools while executing a fourth degree burglary.
- Being in or around the surrounding land or property of a dwelling or storehouse with the intent of committing theft.
Defenses to Burglary Charges
Some possible defenses to burglary are:
- Lack of intent
- Consent of property owner
- Mistake of fact
Schedule a Consultation with a Skilled Burglary Attorney
The serious consequences of a burglary conviction are frightening. An experienced, determined attorney can help reduce or dismiss your charges. Our Glen Burnie and Columbia criminal defense attorneys know what it takes to fight for your freedom. It is important that you hire an attorney immediately to allow him time to investigate and strategize the best defense for you. Let the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, PA build your successful defense.