Cecil County Burglary Lawyer
Burglary is one of the more severe forms of theft in Cecil County because it involves breaking and entering someone else’s property. Therefore, burglary is usually a felony-level offense that carries a significant jail sentence. With a Cecil County burglary lawyer at your side, you could fight against a charge of burglary and work to protect your future. Call a skilled theft attorney and schedule an appointment to begin discussing potential legal strategies.
Laws Governing Burglary
In Cecil County, burglary is the crime of breaking into someone else’s home or other property and entering it illegally. Importantly, there are four degrees of burglary. These degrees depend largely on what happens after breaking and entering. Furthermore, a robbery offense is generally differentiated from a burglary violation.
First Degree Burglary
The most severe type of burglary, first-degree burglary is prohibited by Maryland Criminal Code § 6-202. First-degree burglary involves breaking and entering someone else’s residence with the intent to commit a theft. A conviction is a felony and carries up to 20 years in jail.
Second Degree Burglary
Second-degree burglary falls under MD Criminal Code § 6-203, and involves breaking and entering a store with the intent of committing a theft, crime of violence, or arson. Also a felony, second-degree burglary carries a jail sentence of up to 15 years. That sentence increases to a maximum of 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000 if there was intent to steal a firearm from the store.
Third Degree Burglary
MD Criminal Code § 6-204 defines third-degree burglary as breaking and entering someone else’s home for the purpose of committing any other crime. Still a felony, a conviction for third-degree burglary carries a jail sentence of up to ten years.
Fourth Degree Burglary
Finally, the least severe form of burglary is a fourth-degree burglary in violation of MD Criminal Code § 6-205. This statute prohibits the mere act of breaking and entering a house or other building, even if there was no intent to commit a crime. It also covers being in someone else’s yard with the intent to commit a crime.
While charged as a misdemeanor, burglary in the fourth degree carries a jail sentence of up to three years. If someone has further questions about the various degrees of burglary and their potential consequences, they should contact a Cecil County attorney.
Other Burglary-Related Crimes
In addition to the four degrees of burglary, there are also a small handful of offenses that are related to burglary.
One example is for home invasion, which involves breaking and entering someone else’s residence with the intent to commit a crime of violence. As a Cecil County burglary attorney can further explain, home invasion is a felony that carries up to 25 years in jail, making it even more severe than a charge of first-degree burglary.
Another example is the possession of burglar’s tools – like a crowbar, picklock, explosives, or blowtorch – coupled with the intent to use them in a burglary. This offense is a misdemeanor, punishable with up to three years in jail.
Legal Defenses to a Charge of Burglary
Most of what a Cecil County burglary attorney would do to help someone accused of burglary is challenge the evidence presented by the prosecutor. The prosecutor has to prove all of the elements of burglary beyond a reasonable doubt, so raising those doubts is often the bulk of the defense work.
However, there are also several important defenses that can be raised to combat a charge of burglary in Cecil County, in addition to merely attacking the prosecutor’s evidence.
No Intent to Commit a Crime
A key defense to burglary is that there was no proof that there was an intent to commit a crime. This can turn a severe accusation of burglary into a fourth-degree charge.
No Breaking and Entering
The terms “breaking” and “entering” are technical terms that have been disputed in court by lawyers for decades. Proving that what happened did not amount to one of these requirements can foil a burglary charge.
Fourth Amendment Rights
Everyone in the U.S. has a right to be free from police searches and seizures that are unreasonable. If this right is violated, any evidence obtained can be excluded from court. In many cases, prosecutors are left with little support for their charges and have little choice but to drop them.
Let a Cecil County Burglary Attorney Assist You
Facing an accusation of burglary is a scary and potentially life-changing event. The penalties of a conviction are significant, so fighting the charge is paramount.
Contact a Cecil County burglary lawyer to take a stand against the accusation by invoking your rights, protecting your future, and fighting to prevent a costly conviction. Contact our firm today to get started.