Washington County Burglary Lawyer
Burglary offenses, or breaking and entering the property of others, can have significant ramifications that include decades in prison in some cases. Fines, a term of probation, and a permanent criminal record are some other possible consequences of a burglary conviction. When your future is at stake, seeking the services of a Washington County burglary lawyer may be beneficial.
A burglary conviction can be life-altering and derail the plans that you made. Experienced legal defense counsel may be able to help you devise the defense strategy most likely to be effective in your case. A criminal lawyer could protect your rights and work to ensure that you reach the most favorable resolution possible to your situation.
Burglary Charges in Washington County
State law provides for four different degrees of burglary, ranging from first to fourth-degree burglary. Under Md. Code, Crim. Law § 6-205, fourth-degree burglary, the least serious of the burglary offenses, occurs when people break and enter the homes or storehouses of others. This offense also occurs when individuals are present on the property of others with the intent to commit burglary or in possession of a burglary-related tool that they intend to use or allow others to use to commit a burglary.
Md. Code, Crim. Law § 6-204 defines third-degree burglary. This offense occurs when people break and enter the home of others with the intent to commit a crime. Unlike fourth-degree burglary, third-degree burglary requires intent to commit a crime, instead of merely breaking into the home or building of another. Second-degree burglary is a more severe form of burglary in which individuals break into any buildings, structures, watercraft, or aircraft, as defined in § 6-203, with the intent to commit theft, a violent crime, or second-degree arson.
How Is First-Degree Burglary Defined?
Finally, § 6-202 defines first-degree burglary as breaking into the home of another with the intent to commit theft. Additionally, if the individuals break and enter the home of another to commit a violent crime, they commit the related offense of home invasion. Given the gravity of these criminal charges, consulting a burglary attorney in Washington County may be highly advisable.
What Are the Consequences of a Conviction?
While fourth-degree burglary is a misdemeanor offense, third, second, and first-degree burglary are felony offenses, which carry the possibility for significant prison time. A conviction for fourth-degree burglary can result in a maximum three-year prison sentence. Conversely, a first-degree burglary conviction can result in a 20-year prison sentence, and a home invasion conviction can result in a 25-year prison sentence.
Second and third-degree felony convictions also can cause substantial prison time, including 15 years for second-degree burglary and ten years for third-degree burglary. A second-degree burglary that involves the theft of a firearm, however, can result in a 20-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine.
Other Burglary-Related Criminal Charges in Washington County
Various other crimes exist that are closely related to burglary. For instance, under § 6-206, individuals may not possess a burglar’s tool with the intent to use it to break into a motor vehicle or to allow another to use it to do so. Likewise, this code section also prohibits individuals from being around or inside the motor vehicle of another with the intent to commit theft, either of the motor vehicle or property that is in or attached to the motor vehicle. These crimes are misdemeanor offenses that carry the potential for up to three years in jail.
Other code sections define crimes related to burglary, as well, including:
- Burglary with a destructive device
- Breaking and entering a research facility for various purposes
Both these offenses are felonies under state law. Burglary with a destructive device may result in a 20-year prison term, and breaking into a research facility can lead to five years in prison, plus a $5,000 fine. As the penalties for these crimes can be severe, enlisting the help of a burglary lawyer in Washington County may impact the outcome of the criminal proceedings.
A Washington County Burglary Attorney May Be Able to Help
Burglary cases are complicated. Having a Washington County burglary lawyer on your side from the outset of your case may give you an advantage and allow you to reach a better result.
Avoiding a burglary conviction or minimizing the penalties that you are facing may be critical for your future. Working with legal counsel is likely the most effective means of achieving those goals.