Reading Burglary Lawyer
Details About Burglary Crimes in PA
In the state of Pennsylvania, burglary involves a person going into a building or even a part of a building, unlawfully, with the intention of committing a crime. This clearly does not include buildings that are open to the public at the time that the person entered. The entering the premises part of the statute is the simpler one to prove, the part that makes this crime complex is proving the individual's intent. There must have been an intent to commit a crime inside the building, whether it is theft or any other offense. The fact that the crime does not actually have to take place to be charged with burglary, brings subjectivity into these criminal cases. Even if the crime did not occur, the intent is enough for a conviction. Another complicated part of these statutes is that the defendant does not have to break into the building when entering. Even if the door is left wide open and a person goes inside with the intent of stealing or committing a crime, they could be facing burglary charges in Pennsylvania.
Penalties for Burglary Crimes in Pennsylvania
Burglary charges are not taken lightly in Pennsylvania. This offense can be charged as a first degree felony with serious consequences. There are some instances where it can be a second degree felony with lesser penalties but it depends on the specific offense. If the property is not considered to be a home or dwelling and no one was inside when the offense occurred, you could be facing a second degree felony. If the property was a dwelling; however, or if a person was present you could be facing a first degree felony. The penalties include:
Second Degree Felony:
- Up to 10 years in prison
- Fines of up to $25,000
First Degree Felony:
- Up to 20 years in prison
- Fines of up to $25,000
There could also be additional penalties if the crime you intended to commit was a felony offense. In these cases, you could be facing double charges and even harsher penalties. It is imperative to team up with a Reading theft crime attorney to help defend against your charges.
Defenses to Burglary Charges
Due to the requirements for a burglary conviction, there are several defenses to make. One of the main defenses is a lack of intent to commit a crime during the offense. It is difficult to prove someone's intent without any proof and that serves as a solid defense in these cases. Another defense would be that the premises were open to the public during the time of the offense or you were allowed on the premises. This would take out the unlawful entry part of the crime. If you had consent from the owner or have your own license to enter the premises, you could have the charges dropped. Also, if the building involved was an abandoned building you could also fight against the charges. Depending on the specific details of your offense there could be other defenses for your case as well.
Team Up with a Burglary Attorney in Reading, PA
If you are facing burglary charges, there is serious prison time and fines at stake. Need a lawyer for your theft crime case in Reading? I am Curtis E. Barnes, Attorney at Law and I can help you defend against your charges. I am a former district attorney which allows me to have knowledge of the way the prosecution works. Better your chances of success by having experience on your side. Contact my firm today and schedule a consultation!