Columbia Burglary Lawyer
Maryland law provides for a number of burglary and burglary-related offenses. The penalties for these offenses may differ according to various circumstances related to the crime such as the location, intent, and the means used to commit the act.
Burglary may constitute a felony or a misdemeanor charge depending on similar factors. Even when a burglary is charged as a misdemeanor, there is still a chance of substantial jail time if convicted. Getting legal advice from a Columbia burglary lawyer may be helpful if you were charged with a burglary offense. A well-practiced theft attorney could prepare a strong defense on your behalf.
Burglary Laws and Offenses
Burglary laws range from fourth-degree burglary, which is the least serious burglary offense, to first-degree burglary, which is the most serious burglary offense. Maryland Code, Criminal Law § 6-205 provides for fourth-degree burglary, which could occur when individuals:
- Break and enter a home or storehouse belonging to another with the intent to commit burglary
- Are present in or on another’s home, storehouse, yard, garden, or other areas
- Possess a burglar’s tool with the intent to use it or to allow another to use it to commit burglary
Under Maryland Code, Criminal Law § 6-204, third-degree burglary occurs when individuals break and enter into another’s home with the intent to commit a crime. Maryland Code, Criminal Law § 6-203 states that individuals commit second-degree burglary when they break into and enter a storehouse with the intent to commit theft, a violent crime, or arson in the second degree. The term “storehouse,” as referred to in this code section, refers to any building or structure, as well as some other types of property, such as watercraft and aircraft.
Pursuant to Maryland Code, Criminal Law § 6-202, first-degree burglary involves breaking into and entering another’s home with the intent to commit theft. This code section also covers home invasion, which involves breaking and entering into another’s home with the intent to commit a violent crime. A person could contact a Columbia burglary lawyer to learn how burglary laws could affect their case.
Penalties for Charges in Maryland
A burglary offense could be charged in varying degrees, similar to any number of crimes such as assault.
A felony conviction for a first-degree burglary may result in a prison sentence, not in excess of 20 years. Home invasion could result in a sentence of up to 25 years in prison. A second-degree burglary conviction is a felony that may result in a maximum 15-year sentence of incarceration. If individuals steal a firearm in the course of a burglary, they may receive a 20-year sentence of incarceration and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Third-degree burglary convictions are felonies that may result in a sentence of 10 years in prison. Fourth-degree burglary is a misdemeanor crime with a maximum sentence of imprisonment of three years.
A burglary lawyer could help a person in Columbia understand the penalties of any charges they may be facing.
Possible Defenses to Charges
Even when facing such serious charges as burglary, individuals may have defenses available to them depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding their cases. Burglary laws require that individuals have the intent to commit a crime, such as theft, in order to commit a burglary.
The fact that individuals entered another’s home but had no intent to commit a crime may cast doubt on whether they committed burglary. If individuals have a solid alibi for the crime or proof that they were elsewhere when the burglary was committed, then they may have a valid defense to the charges.
Contacting a Columbia Burglary Attorney for Assistance
Criminal convictions may haunt you for years to come, particularly if they involve a serious criminal offense like burglary. Taking legal action could help you avoid the adverse consequences of a felony conviction, such as years in prison, high fines, payment of restitution to victims, and difficulties in obtaining housing and employment. By contacting a Columbia burglary lawyer, you may be able to minimize or even avoid the possible repercussions of a conviction.