Burglary, one of the most misunderstood offenses under Connecticut law, involves entering a building with the intent to commit a crime. These charges may result even if the person does not actually do anything once they enter the building. There are multiple degrees of burglary offenses under state law that may apply based on the circumstances of the alleged entry.
At Ruane Attorneys, our Hartford burglary lawyers are here to help you fight these charges and protect your future. An attorney at our firm can work to defend your innocence and contest the prosecutor’s case at every stage of the proceedings.
How does State Law Define Burglary?
The state’s burglary laws describe various behaviors involving the intent to commit a crime when entering a building. Merely entering a building with the intent to commit a crime inside is illegal, even if the defendant did not take any further actions once inside. According to Connecticut General Statute § 53a-103, this describes the class D felony offense of burglary in the third degree.
State law also outlines more serious versions of this crime where convictions can bring enhanced penalties. For example, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-102 defines burglary in the second degree as a person entering a dwelling with the intent to commit a crime inside. A dwelling can describe a house, apartment, or hotel room. These offenses are class C felonies.
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-101 describes burglary in the first degree. These charges could apply when:
- The incident results in the infliction of bodily harm on another person
- The burglary occurs at night
- The alleged offender is carrying an explosive or dangerous weapon
These cases are class B felonies, and convictions come with a five-year mandatory sentence.
The seriousness of the burglary charges depends on the type of building and any items the defendant was carrying at the time of entry. A Hartford attorney could provide more information about the types of burglary charges under state law.
Other Relevant Laws in Hartford Burglary Cases
The laws outlined above describe what a prosecutor must prove to obtain a conviction in a burglary case. However, a section of state law also allows defendants in burglary cases to raise an affirmative defense against a burglary charge. For example, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-104 allows a defendant to present evidence in court that the building where the offense took place was abandoned at the time of the incident. If a jury accepts this argument, the charges may be lowered to simple trespass and bring less severe penalties.
However, certain circumstances can make a charge more serious. For instance, there is a mandatory prison sentence if a burglary involves the use of a firearm. Even if the case would otherwise be a burglary in the third-degree charge, possession of a gun means that a conviction comes with a minimum one-year sentence. Those accused of burglary should work with an attorney at our firm to mitigate the potential penalties.
Speak with a Hartford Burglary Attorney Immediately
Any burglary charge is a felony with the potential to change a person’s life permanently. Any conviction will likely carry a jail sentence and create a permanent criminal record. When the stakes are this high, you need help from a Hartford burglary lawyer.
Ruane Attorneys will examine the facts behind every case and listen to your goals. In some situations, we can fight for a fair plea deal from the prosecutor. If it is necessary to take your case to trial, we work to cross-examine witnesses and challenge the evidence against you. Every stage of the proceedings is important, so contact us today to get the legal representation you need.