Carroll County Burglary Lawyer
Many people and the media confuse burglary and robbery but they are two distinct but often related crimes. Burglary is the unlawful entry into an occupied dwelling or structure with the intent of committing a crime, often robbery, but also assault and any other violent crime.
Burglary under Maryland law has four levels of seriousness and individuals who are charged with burglary will need a skillful and knowledgeable attorney. Carroll County burglary lawyers are well-versed in burglary defenses and have extensive experience working burglary cases and achieving the best results attainable. It could be critical to speak with a distinguished criminal attorney right away.
What is Burglary?
Maryland has four levels of burglary charges, called degrees, with felonies for first, second, and third-degree charges and a misdemeanor for the fourth degree. All are distinguished by the structure intentionally entered and the seriousness of the crime committed after the unlawful entry to the property.
- A first-degree burglary felony is accompanied by a home invasion or other violent act and is punishable by up to 25 years in state prison.
- A second-degree burglary is breaking into a dwelling intending to steal a firearm which carries a 20-year prison sentence.
- Third-degree is burglary of a dwelling with intent to commit a crime and is punished by 10 years in state prison.
- Fourth degree, a misdemeanor, is burglary of a storehouse, yard or garden and is penalized by up to three years in prison.
The state also can prosecute an accompanying misdemeanor charge of possessing burglary tools, which can be common items such as screwdrivers and hammers as well as masks, gloves, crowbars, torches, lock picks, and destructive devices. Prosecutors must prove the case to a jury or judge beyond a reasonable doubt to achieve a conviction, and possession of burglary tools may help prove intent.
Available Defenses for Burglary Charges
As a Carroll County burglary lawyer knows, innocence of the crime can be considered a defense. Developing an alibi, calling into question the reliability of any witnesses and forensic evidence, and other methods to cause a juror to doubt what the state presents can lead to acquittal.
What is an Affirmative Defense for a Theft Case?
An affirmative defense is the ability to negate at least one of the elements of burglary, unauthorized entry, and intent to commit an offense inside. The state must prove the elements that comprise burglary. If the state can prove unauthorized entry, the defense can challenge that the intent of entering was not to commit a crime and the case could be dismissed. Voluntary intoxication may work to establish the defendant did not have criminal intent once inside.
Entrapment can be a defense if there is evidence that the defendant was convinced by someone in law enforcement to break into a dwelling which the defendant would not do but for the other person’s influence. A defendant who was under duress because of someone threatening the person with physical, financial, or other harm, unless the defendant performed the burglary and any associated crimes, can use the duress defense.
Likelihood of Entering into a Plea Agreement
If the defendant is guilty of the burglary and the prosecution’s evidence is irrefutable, the defense attorney may be able to reduce the sentence by presenting mitigating evidence. The defendant may also want to accept a compromise by the state and plead guilty to a lesser degree of the crime and reduce the length of the sentence. A Carroll County burglary lawyer can negotiate a compromise but it is entirely the defendant’s choice to accept it.