Burglary in New York City

Similar to Criminal Trespass, a charge of Burglary in New York State is predicated upon a person either entering or remaining in a location that the person does not have a right to physically be present in after being instructed to leave by someone with authority to issue the command. What distinguishes Burglary from Criminal Trespass is that, in order to sustain a Burglary charge, the prosecution must demonstrate that the person had an intent to commit an additional crime while that person was trespassing. Generally, people think of that additional underlying crime as some sort of theft, that Burglary occurs when a person breaks into a home or building in the middle of the night with the intent to steal something. While that would satisfy the requirement, the statute does not specify what crime the person must be intending to commit, so Burglary can be charged when the prosecution can show that, based on the person’s actions, they intended to commit any crime while they were trespassing.

The statute also does not require that the person actually commit whatever crime was intended while the person was trespassing. As long as the facts and circumstances of the person’s presence inside the location evidence the intention to commit a crime, the charge of Burglary is satisfied.

Also, despite the fact that most people associate Burglary with sneaking in and out of a premises and avoiding all contact with people, Burglary is considered a violent felony.

Burglary in the Third Degree: New York Penal Law § 140.20

Burglary in the Third Degree is a class D felony. This offense relates to entering or unlawfully remaining in a building with intent to commit a crime therein. Most people are aware that if a person breaks into a warehouse with the intent to steal property, that would constitute burglary. But the same charge would apply if a person entered a department store while the store was open, hid in a bathroom until the store closed, and then emerged with the intent to steal property. This offense is punishable by up to seven years in jail.

Burglary in the Second Degree: New York Penal Law § 140.25

Burglary in the Second Degree is a class C felony. This offense has the same basic criteria as Burglary in the Third Degree but contains one of the following aggravating factors: (1) in either entering or in flight from the building any participant in the crime either (a) is armed with explosives or a deadly weapon, (b) causes physical injury to a person who is not a participant in the crime, (c) uses or threatens to use a dangerous instrument, or (d) displays what appears to be a firearm; or, (2) the building is a dwelling. A dwelling, under New York law, is any type of building where a person usually lodges or remains overnight. This offense is punishable by up to 15 years in jail.

Burglary in the First Degree: New York Penal Law § 140.30

Burglary in the First Degree is a class B felony. This offense combines both of the aggravating factors in the Burglary in the Second Degree charge. This offense is punishable by up to 25 years in jail.

Due to the gravity of the offense, the significant jail sentence which may be imposed, and the effects that a violent felony conviction can have on a person’s ability to get a job/housing, it is extremely important anyone charged with such an offense consult a top New York burglary attorney with the experience and knowledge to put forth the strongest defense. Call the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman today for a free case consultation.

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