If you are caught in a house, hotel, warehouse, office building, or mobile home – and the authorities decide you intended to commit a crime – burglary charges in Lemoyne, PA, may be brought against you. Even if you didn’t break into the building or actually take anything, you could still be charged with burglary.
Pennsylvania law considers any form of burglary a felony. In Pennsylvania, a burglary charge is never anything less than a felony in the second degree. Considering the heavy penalties, including lengthy prison time and hefty fines, you need an experienced Lemoyne criminal defense attorney who can build a strong defense strategy for you.
You don’t have to suffer alone. You need an experienced legal professional with in-depth legal knowledge to protect your rights and fight for your freedom.
What Are the Penalties for Burglary in Pennsylvania?
A burglary can either be a first or second-degree charge depending on the type of property and whether a person was present on the property at the time of the burglary
If the burglary involved a house or structure used for overnight accommodation and a person was present during the alleged crime, it would be a first-degree felony charge. If no one was present and the property was a store or any other commercial property, then it becomes a second-degree felony.
A first-degree felony is punishable by up to twenty years in prison, while a second-degree felony in Pennsylvania carries up to ten years in prison. The judge has the discretion to add a fine on top of this penalty. That’s why it’s crucial that you get a Lemoyne burglary lawyer to fight these charges.
What Elements Should the Prosecution Prove in A Burglary Case?
Pennsylvania defines burglary as the unlawful entry of a property with the intention of committing a crime. A burglary doesn’t need force, as is the case in a robbery charge. Similarly, theft, larceny, or physical breaking aren’t required in a burglary charge.
Below are the three elements that qualify a burglary charge in Lemoyne, PA:
- Unlawful or unauthorized entry, whether using force, fraud, or blackmail, done without the owner’s consent
Entry must be made into a building or occupied structure, vehicles, and any sheltering property. An abandoned building may not qualify for burglary but can be brought as a trespassing charge.
- Intent to commit a crime. The motive of the defendant to commit the crime must have been constructed while still outside.
- Your Lemoyne burglary lawyer will examine these elements and the merits of your case to develop a robust defense strategy.
What Are the Defenses to Burglary Charges in Pennsylvania?
There are various defense strategies to use in a burglary case, and our experienced Lemoyne burglary defense attorney understands them all. Your Lemoyne military defense attorney will guide you on which potential defenses will yield the best results.
Your burglary lawyer in Lemoyne may argue that the property was abandoned and uncopied. While the prosecution may attempt to show that someone still owned it, you may argue that it wasn’t maintained or that the owner has left it for years without paying property taxes.
Open to Public Access
One of the elements of burglary is “unlawful entry” into a building or structure. This means the person entered a building without permission. But if this building is a public building like a hospital or store, then a burglary charge may be disqualified.
Similarly, if the defendant mistakenly believed that s/he had the permission to enter, this also disavows the intent element, thus dismissing a burglary charge.
The prosecution must prove the three elements of a burglary charge beyond a reasonable doubt. Apart from entering or attempting to enter a property, the accused must also have intended to commit the crime. If this intention isn’t proven, the charge may only be criminal trespass – a felony charge with less severe consequences.
Mistaken Identity of the Burglary
Most burglary cases will involve eyewitness identification and forensic evidence like DNA and fingerprints. As long as the police match the DNA or fingerprint samples to someone in the system, that person will definitely be charged with burglary even without any other type of evidence.
The Intent to Commit the Crimes Was Developed While Inside the Premises
A burglary requires intent to commit a crime. This intent should be formed while still outside the property. If this intent is formed while already inside the property, a burglary charge does not apply in that case.
Challenging Forensic Evidence
Evidence like fingerprints can be challenged with the help of a skilled Lemoyne criminal defense attorney. Your lawyer may challenge the DNA or fingerprint samples by questioning when they were left at the scene – at the time of the incident or some other time.
What Will My Lawyer Do to Defend Me?
The advantage of having a Lemoyne burglary lawyer by your side is getting valuable insight into such a criminal case and learning to predict what’s awaiting you and measure to counter those actions from the prosecution. An experienced criminal defense attorney in Pennsylvania will make every effort to discredit any evidence and present evidence and witnesses proving your innocence.
A burglary attorney will also inform you of what the law says concerning burglary charges in Pennsylvania and how it may impact your life. Your lawyer will be looking for different ways to help you, so it’s important to share every information that can support your case.
Help from A Skilled Criminal Defense Professional?
A burglary charge is more serious than a simple theft charge because it involves breaking and entering another person’s property. Such a case will often depend on the strength of the evidence and witness testimony. A qualified burglary defense attorney in Lemoyne can challenge the evidence on your behalf.
It’s vital to hire a criminal defense lawyer with experience in representing people accused of burglary. Our burglary lawyer is ready to assess the evidence carefully and fight for your rights. Talk to us today before talking to the police or the prosecution.