Baltimore Burglary Lawyer
Burglary is defined as breaking and entering a structure with the intent to commit a crime within, usually theft. In Maryland, burglary charges are taken very seriously by prosecutors and can carry hefty penalties, depending on the severity of the offense. If you have been charged with committing burglary, you should be aware that you are innocent until proven guilty.
The first step to fighting a burglary charge is hiring the right legal team to defend you at trial and to provide counsel every step of the way. Understanding the charges against you is the first step to mount your legal defense, so contact a Baltimore burglary lawyer today.
What Constitutes Burglary?
Maryland separates burglary into several different categories:
- First Degree – Maryland Criminal Code §6-202 – the most serious form of burglary requires breaking into a dwelling (20 years) and/or intending to commit a violent crime within (25 years). Since the law often considers the home to be a highly private place, worthy of the law’s protection, the penalties are more severe for residential break-ins than commercial burglaries
- Second Degree – Maryland Criminal Code §6-203 – the next most serious form of burglary involves breaking into a “storehouse” (warehouse, storefront, commercial building) with the intent to commit theft, violence or arson (15 years) or theft of a firearm (10 years)
- Third Degree – Maryland Criminal Code §6-204 – the breaking and entering with the intent to commit generally any other crime not covered by the first and second-degree statutes (10 years)
- Fourth Degree – Maryland Criminal Code §6-205 – the breaking and entering of a dwelling or storehouse (no intent to commit any crime required to prove) (3 years)
There are numerous defenses to burglary charges, but they are very fact-intensive. The following defenses only apply in certain, limited situations:
- Lack of Applicable Mens Rea – if the crime requires an intent to commit an act, proving that there was no intention may defeat the charge entirely or mitigate the charge to a lesser offense
- Mistake of Fact – a defense if the person thought they were taking their own item, thus making it impossible that they were stealing another person or entity’s goods
- Consent – proving that the taking was approved by the owner would negate the theft element of the offense, thus illustrating that the defendant lacked criminal culpability
- Insufficient Evidence – the prosecutor has the burden of production in a criminal case. A lack of viable evidence could potentially lead to the lack of a conviction
- Mistaken Identity or Alibi – a person’s identity and whereabouts are extremely important in criminal cases. A defendant who shows they were not at the scene of the crime when the offense took place may be able to show that they are not the guilty party
Contact a Baltimore Burglary Lawyer Today
Criminal convictions can haunt an individual forever. A charge could lead to imprisonment, expensive fines, restitution, and even admitting to the conviction in future job interviews. You should refrain from utilizing the services of a public defender, as these government-appointed lawyers often have too many cases to pay your case the proper attention. If you are being investigated for any type of burglary, it is important that you take action immediately.
If the prosecutor can prove that you were improperly in a building you did not have permission to be in, even without burglars’ tools or stolen property, you still may be convicted of a crime. If you have questions, call a Baltimore burglary attorney today.