AGGRESSIVE REPRESENTATION FOR BURGLARY DEFENDANTS
For anyone who is charged with a crime, it can be a nerve-wracking and frightening experience. If you are charged with a crime like burglary in Cumberland or Dauphin County, you must be defended by a Lemoyne burglary attorney who can fight effectively for justice on your behalf.
Exactly what constitutes burglary in Pennsylvania? What are the penalties for a burglary conviction? If you’re arrested on a burglary charge, what steps should you take?
The law in Pennsylvania defines burglary as entering any part of a dwelling, building, or occupied structure with the intent to commit a crime therein, unless the location is open to the public or the defendant had the owner’s or tenant’s consent.
What’s important is a burglar’s intention to commit a crime after making an entry. It doesn’t matter whether the intended crime was theft or whether the intended crime was accomplished. Entry plus criminal intent constitute burglary in Pennsylvania.
EVERY BURGLARY IS A FELONY IN PENNSYLVANIA
Breaking and entering isn’t even required. If a burglar enters a building or structure through an open or unlocked door and intends to commit a crime, it’s still burglary – and burglary is a first- or second-degree felony in Pennsylvania:
- If the charge is burglary as a first-degree felony – a residential burglary, for example – a conviction is punishable with up to twenty years in prison.
- If the property targeted for burglary was an unoccupied building or a structure not adapted for overnight accommodation – a warehouse, for example – burglary is a second-degree felony punishable upon conviction with up to ten years in prison.
HOW WILL A CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER HANDLE YOUR BURGLARY CASE?
The law in Pennsylvania also provides that defendants cannot be prosecuted or penalized both for burglary and for the crime they intended to commit unless the intended crime was a first-degree or second-degree felony.
What steps will a good burglary attorney take to defend a burglary suspect? Typically, a defense attorney’s first step is trying to have the charge dropped by the prosecutor or dismissed by the judge.
A charge of burglary can be dropped or dismissed if law enforcement officers violated a suspect’s rights during an investigation, a search, an interrogation, or an arrest.
WHAT DEFENSES MAY BE OFFERED AGAINST A BURGLARY CHARGE?
But even if the charge against a defendant can’t be dropped or dismissed, fighting a burglary charge isn’t hopeless. In fact, depending on the details of a burglary case, a good attorney will probably be able to offer one of these defenses on a burglary defendant’s behalf:
- The defendant entered a building or structure but did not intend to commit a crime: If a prosecutor cannot prove criminal intent, the charge may be reduced to criminal trespass.
- The building or structure appeared abandoned: If a property was abandoned, a burglary charge does not apply. If the property was not maintained, or taxes or mortgage payments were not made, a judge may declare a property abandoned even if there is a legal owner.
- The building or structure was public property: If a property was open to the public – let’s say it’s a hospital – and even if someone commits a crime after entering, the crime isn’t burglary.
- Misidentification: You were misidentified and someone else committed the burglary.
- Fabrication: No burglary was committed, and you’ve been falsely accused or “framed.”
IS SHOPLIFTING CONSIDERED BURGLARY?
Shoplifting is not considered burglary in Pennsylvania. It’s a separate crime called “retail theft,” and it may be charged as a felony or as a misdemeanor depending on the value of the shoplifted items.
If you are charged with burglary or shoplifting in Cumberland or Dauphin County, you must contact the right Lemoyne burglary attorney at once. That attorney is R. Davis Younts.
After examining the particulars of the incident and the charge against you, attorney R. Davis Younts will develop an appropriate defense strategy and fight aggressively for the justice you need. He’s been practicing law in Pennsylvania since 2002.
HOW TO REACH ATTORNEY R. DAVIS YOUNTS
Attorney R. Davis Younts has been a prosecutor, JAG (Judge Advocate General), and a number one-ranked Senior Defense Counsel in the U.S. Air Force. R. Davis Younts knows what it takes to bring your burglary case to its best possible outcome.
If you’re charged with committing a burglary, arrange to speak with Attorney R. Davis Younts as soon as you can. It’s important to give your attorney as much time as possible to investigate a burglary case and craft a defense strategy.
Contact attorney R. Davis Younts by calling (833) 739-5291 or (717) 612-4840. His law offices are located at 26 North Ninth Street in Lemoyne. If you are charged with burglary, shoplifting, or criminal trespass in Pennsylvania, having a good criminal defense attorney’s advice and help is your right.