Often times, the criminal action of burglary is associated with theft or robbery. However, these are all different crimes, classified by how they are committed. Unlike the other two crimes, burglary does not necessarily have to involve the taking of property. Instead, the state of Pennsylvania defines burglary as unlawfully entering a building with the intent of committing a crime inside.
Pennsylvania Burglary Law
There are two elements that make up the act of burglary in Pennsylvania. This is unlawfully entering a building as well as having the intent to commit a crime once the individual is inside. In order for a person to be convicted of burglary, both these elements must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. This involves proving that they actually entered the building without permission to do so and had the intention of engaging in criminal activity.
Pennsylvania law does not include circumstances where the individual entered a building legally but stayed after the time they were meant to leave. This can include entering a store during business hours but hiding until the store closes. In addition to this, the crime does not have to be successful or completed in order for a person to be convicted. They only have to have the intent.
Consequences of Burglary
The crime of burglary is considered a felony charge. There are varying degrees of a felony according to the underlying circumstances. In the event that there was any other person present in the building at the time of the crime, other than an accomplice, it is considered burglary in the first degree. This can result in up to 20 years of incarceration. Burglary in the second degree is when the building is not a dwelling and there was no other person present at the time. This can result in up to 10 years of incarceration.
Defenses Against Burglary Charges
When a person is charged with burglary, it is important to retain the services of an attorney. These charges can result in serious consequences. An experienced attorney can provide the proper defense to help a person’s case. This can include the following defenses:
- Age (a person under the age of 13 cannot be found guilty of a crime)
- Mental capacity
- Mistake of fact
- The conduct was justified or excused by the situation
Contact our Firm
Attorney Newman has represented clients in Pennsylvania for over 45 years. If you need an experienced attorney to help guide you through the personal injury claims process or with any criminal defense matters, Attorney Newman is ready to help. Contact The Law Office of Neal E. Newman today to schedule a consultation.