Burglary is a term we have all heard but we often think it means the same as robbery or theft. Although all these terms are associated with stealing or taking away the property of another, each of them has a different definition and these 3 are considered different acts and are governed by specific laws.
Let us look at the definitions of robbery, theft, and burglary:
Theft: In legal terms, theft is defined as an act of taking away someone’s property dishonestly to permanently deprive the victim of the property.
Robbery: Robbery is when an individual uses force to take away the property of another. Robbery is a more serious crime than theft and has severe punishments.
Burglary: Burglary is when a trespasser enters a property intending to steal and physically harms the victim while trying to steal.
An act is considered burglary only if an individual enters a building or an occupied structure or secured portion of the dwelling of another. The burglar may enter areas such as the garage or outhouse, etc., without permission. Another important element of burglary is the intention behind the break-in. The prosecution needs to establish that the reason for entering the property of another is stealing.
The US Legal System has classified burglary into 3 types:
1. Domestic Burglary: This type of burglary takes place at a dwelling to steal. The dwelling could be a house, flat, boat, caravan, or any type of accommodation where the victim lives. The maximum sentence for domestic burglary is 14 years of imprisonment.
2. Non Domestic Burglary: Non-domestic burglary takes place in a location other than the place of dwelling. It can take place in a shopping mall, an office, a retail outlet, etc. In a non-domestic burglary, the burglar may not force his entry into the place but may enter specific areas for the purpose of stealing. The sentence for non-domestic burglary can be unto 10 months of imprisonment.
3. Aggravated Burglary: This type of burglary is committed using firearms. When burglary is facilitated with the use of weapons or firearms, it can be considered assault. The accused can also be charged with robbery. The sentence for aggravated burglary is life imprisonment.
The burglary laws have evolved in the US. Burglary laws vary from state to state in the US. Each state has its own specific definition of burglary and has specific laws pertaining to it. The punishments for burglary also differ between states.
Burglary charges can have severe repercussions for the accused. These consequences may be direct wherein he is punished in the court of law or indirect consequences like the loss of reputation, etc. In some cases, a person accused of burglary may not be able to find employment. Therefore, if you are facing burglary charges, it is best that you hire an experienced burglary lawyer at the earliest. Ward K Johnson Law Firm has a team of professional burglary lawyers who have a high success rate in defending clients facing burglary charges.
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