When you are arrested for burglary, call a criminal defense attorney immediately. You need legal representation to combat this felony charge. Do not speak to the police until you have spoken with a Bridgeport burglary lawyer.
A conviction for burglary could impact your life forever. Work with a legal professional to give yourself the best chance of defeating the charge. At Ruane Attorneys, we can protect your rights and ensure law enforcement stays within its bounds.
Understanding Burglary Charges
Burglary means to enter a building with the intent to commit a crime. When people think of burglary, they usually think of breaking into a building to steal something. However, intending to commit any crime—not just theft—could support a burglary charge.
Under the burglary statute, a building could be any structure a person could occupy, including a shed, garage, boat, or car. Someone convicted of burglary faces harsher punishment if they allegedly entered a dwelling, defined as a place where someone can sleep. Trailers, RVs, dorm rooms, hotel and motel rooms, and apartments count as dwellings.
Burglary does not require breaking in. Entering through an unlocked door is sufficient to support a burglary charge if the alleged burglar intends to commit a crime. However, in some cases, a Bridgeport attorney could use the fact that the structure was not locked to defend against the burglary charges.
Consequences of a Burglary Conviction
Burglary charges range from a Class D felony to a Class B felony, depending on numerous factors. The potential punishment depends on the specific charge the prosecutor pursues.
The defendant’s criminal history will influence the sentence a judge might impose. Depending on the nature of the previous convictions, a judge might impose a sentence on the higher end of the range or even sentence the person as if they committed a more serious crime. The burglary lawyers at our Bridgeport office could advise a defendant on the punishment they might face upon conviction in a specific case.
Illegally entering or remaining in a non-residential building or an empty dwelling to commit a crime is third-degree burglary. This is a Class D felony, according to Connecticut General Statute §53a-103. The potential sentence upon conviction is up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. A person convicted of third-degree burglary while armed faces a one-year mandatory minimum sentence.
Unauthorized entry into an occupied dwelling intending to commit a crime is second-degree burglary, a Class C felony. If convicted, an offender faces a potential prison sentence of ten years and a $10,000 fine. If the offender was armed or pretended to be armed when they entered the home, they could face a one-year mandatory minimum prison term.
A prosecutor could charge first-degree burglary if someone allegedly enters an occupied dwelling at night intending to commit a crime. Someone could face first-degree burglary charges if they illegally enter a building other than a dwelling while armed with explosives or a deadly weapon or if the alleged burglar physically harms someone while they are in the building.
First-degree burglary is a Class B felony. It carries a potential prison sentence of 20 years and a possible fine of $15,000. If the offender was armed, they must serve at least five years in prison. When the stakes are this high, those accused of burglary need representation from a local attorney.
Defending Burglary Charges in Bridgeport
Reviewing police conduct and procedures often is helpful to the defense case. If law enforcement violated the suspect’s rights, mishandled evidence, or relied on a witness with credibility problems, a judge might exclude evidence, and a prosecutor might dismiss the charge.
If the defendant entered an abandoned building, they did not commit burglary. If the defendant believed they had the right to enter the building or to stay in it, they did not commit burglary. A prosecutor could withdraw the charge in either of these situations.
A prosecutor must prove the defendant intended to commit a crime while in the building they entered illegally. If the proof of their intent is weak, a Bridgeport attorney could work to convince a prosecutor to reduce the burglary charge to criminal trespass. Criminal trespass is a misdemeanor and a far less serious offense than burglary.
Call a Bridgeport Attorney if You are Arrested for Burglary
A burglary charge requires a robust defense. A felony conviction could have dire consequences for your future.
A Bridgeport burglary lawyer could review the prosecutor’s evidence and devise the most effective defense strategy available under the circumstances. Call Ruane Attorneys to discuss your case and get the legal counsel you need.