What to Know about Burglary

Statute Explanation Burglary ARS 13 506Burglary is illegal entry into private property, especially for the purpose of committing a crime. Usually, the intent is to steal something, but there are exceptions to that. For instance, if you break into a house to vandalize something, you can be charged with burglary. You don’t need to damage any property or actually steal anything to be facing this charge. Usually if you break in to a place without permission, the government is going to assume the intent, but they still have to prove it.

Burglary is also called housebreaking, home invasion, and breaking and entering. Depending on several factors, burglary can be considered a misdemeanor (trespassing) or a felony, and the penalties involved vary. There are three degrees of burglary, each with a separate statute and potential punishments. 

Third Degree Burglary

ARS 13-1506

Third degree burglary is entering into someone’s car, a fenced yard, or a commercial building, in order to steal something. This can also include using a ‘master key’ to enter, rather than damaging property. Third degree burglary is a class 4 felony and punishable by: 

  • Up to 3.75 years in prison
  • Fines and restitution 

Second Degree Burglary

ARS 13-1507

Burglary is considered second degree when you enter someone’s residence with the intent of committing a felony. It is a class 3 felony, and punishments include:

  • Up to 8.75 years in prison
  • Fines and restitution

First Degree Burglary

ARS 13-1508

Statute Explanation Burglary ARS 13 507First degree burglary is when you commit a burglary with a deadly weapon (a gun, knife, even explosive device). Committing a burglary while armed will increase the felony level of the burglary.

So for example, if you break into someone’s home with a deadly weapon, you will be charged with a class 2 felony which is punishable by:

  • Up to 12.5 years in prison
  • Fines and restitution 

You’ve been charged with burglary….now what?

It is important to note that burglary charges are in addition to any other charges, such as theft or illegal weapon possession, you may be facing. In addition, if this isn’t your first burglary offense, your penalties can increase to over 25 years in prison, more fines, and other serious recriminations.

There is no such thing as a not-so-serious burglary charge. These charges can follow you for decades, so it is very important to know what to do when facing such charges. The burden of proof of intent falls upon the prosecution, but many people don’t know that and sometimes that makes their cases more complicated. But there are a few things you can do when charged with this type of crime to make your legal process as smooth as possible.

Statute Explanation Lawyer Burges McCowan BurglaryFirst of all, always remain silent! Police are trained to get you to talk, and they will use your words against you. Be calm and polite, but do not answer questions about your charges. Instead, ask to speak to an attorney, even if it’s the middle of the night. This will immediately end any interrogation and help protect your rights. 

You need to find a great defense attorney as quickly as you can, to help you make sure your best interests are upheld through the process. A great defense attorney guarantees that you have someone on your side.

Contact Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney Burges McCowan today for a free consultation, and start mounting your best defense.