Bronx Burglary Lawyer
Some of the most serious property-related offenses that a person may face in The Bronx involve burglary. However, unlike many other states, New York Penal Law does not explicitly connect burglary with an act of theft. Instead, any unlawful entry into any building with the intent to commit another crime could be considered burglary.
Because of this broader definition, you may find yourself facing allegations of burglary if police merely suspect you entered a building in order to commit a crime. This allegation can have severe consequences upon conviction with some versions of burglary carrying a mandatory minimum prison sentence.
It is often vital that defendants facing burglary charges take aggressive steps to protect themselves, including consulting with a criminal defense attorney about legal options. A Bronx burglary lawyer could work to dispute the idea of an entry, combat allegations of intent to commit another crime, and fight to protect your constitutional rights in court.
What is a Burglary?
Burglary carries a precise definition under New York Penal Law. According to New York Penal Law §140.20, a person commits burglary when they enter a building unlawfully—or unlawfully remain in a building—with the intent to commit a crime.
This definition is more nuanced than it may appear at first. First, a person may commit burglary even if they are initially invited into a building. For example, a houseguest may commit burglary if they are invited to a party, remain hidden in a basement until all other guests leave, and emerge later to steal electronics.
Second, New York Penal Law does not require a prosecutor to prove that the entered building was a dwelling. The core definition provided in the relevant NYPL sections includes all structures, not just private living spaces.
Finally, prosecutors may be able to secure a conviction on a burglary charge even if the accused party does not actually commit another offense. For instance, if a defendant is seen carrying a crowbar when entering a building, a jury may be able to infer that they entered the building to damage property. A Bronx burglary attorney could work with a defendant to refute this and any other elements of the charges against them in the interest of protecting their best interests.
The Classes of Burglary
While the core definition of burglary as provided by NYPL §140.20 is the basic version of the crime, it is not the only section punishing this behavior. This core definition only refers directly to burglary in the third degree, a class D felony charge.
More serious are allegations of burglary in the second degree. As per NYPL §140.25, this is a class C felony which prosecutors may charge a defendant with if they believe that person:
- Was armed with an explosive or deadly weapon
- Caused physical harm to any person not participating in the alleged crime
- Used or threatens to use any dangerous instrument
- Displayed any firearm
In addition, any alleged burglary inside a dwelling is automatically a class C felony.
Finally, the most serious version of burglary is burglary in the first degree, which is a class B felony according to NYPL §140.30. This section combines the two aforementioned elements that may make a burglary a more serious offense. For example, if a person allegedly entered a dwelling with a firearm intending to commit a crime, they may be charged with burglary in the first degree and may benefit even more significantly from the services of a burglary lawyer in The Bronx.
Contact a Bronx Burglary Attorney Today
Allegations of burglary in The Bronx are serious matters, as these are always felony-level offenses for which a conviction is likely to result in a lengthy prison sentence. If you are accused of carrying a weapon of any sort during the alleged act, or if the building in question is a dwelling, the charges become even more serious. It is essential that you understand the law as it applies to your particular case, so you can construct and execute upon a thorough defense in court.
A Bronx burglary lawyer could stand by your side every step of the way. From initial arrest and arraignment through various pre-trial hearings, all the way to arguing a case before a jury, a skilled and experienced defense attorney could fight to protect your rights and preserve your freedom. Call today to learn more.