Burglary 101: Questions And Answers You Should Know When Charged

Facing any criminal charge is a scary situation. However, there are some criminal charges that can follow you around and leave a derogatory mark on your record for a really long time, and burglary is one of those charges. If you have been arrested for burglary, there are bound to be things you want to know. 

What's the difference between burglary and breaking and entering?

Burglary is different than breaking and entering because, in order to be charged with burglary, you must actually illegally enter a place with the intention of committing a crime. In other words, breaking and entering is only a small part of a burglary, since you have to illegally enter a place in order to effectively "burgle" it. For example, if you break into a private property by picking the lock, but don't actually do anything while you are there, you would only be charged with breaking and entering or unlawful entrance to a private property, depending on what state you live in. Breaking and entering is not always a part of burglary either. If you went into a private property through an open door, you could still be charged with burglary without the breaking and entering aspect. 

Is a burglary a felony or a misdemeanor crime?

The circumstances surrounding your case, the state where you live, and other factors can determine if a burglary charge will be treated as a felony or a misdemeanor. In some states, you would be facing a felony burglary charge only if you broke into a place and took something, damaged property, or hurt someone inside of the property. In other states, just the act of breaking in and doing anything while inside could land you with a felony charge. 

What is the best way to defend yourself if you have been charged with burglary?

Your number one line of defense is to get a good burglary defense lawyer immediately after your arrest. These attorneys are extremely familiar with the ins and outs of burglary as a legal offense in your state and what you can do to defend yourself or prove yourself innocent. In a lot of situations, your best opportunity will be to seek a lesser charge than burglary. For example, if you didn't do anything once inside of a place, you may be able to get the charges amended to only breaking and entering instead of burglary, which would carry much less harsh penalties. Learn more about how a lawyer could defend your burglary charge.