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What Must Be Proven To Charge A Person With Burglary?

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When a person commits burglary, he enters a home or other building illegally with the intent to commit a crime. Being charged with a burglary is considered a felony and remains on a person's permanent record. To charge a person with burglary, there are different factors that must be proven. This involves providing evidence to show that each aspect of a burglary occurred and convincing the court system that it happened. These are the points that must be proven to bring burglary charges against a perpetrator.   

Unauthorized Entry of a Home or Building 

First, it must be proven that the alleged criminal entered the home or building without permission. If it is a private home, the accused person must have entered it without the permission of the owner. If it is a public business, he must have entered while the business was closed or during business hours with the intent to commit a crime. 

However, in some cases the burglar does not have to be completely inside the building to be found guilty. For instance, if an alleged criminal reaches his arm inside a store or other business and demands a clerk to empty the cash register at gunpoint, this too warrants a burglary charge.

Forced Entry 

In some states, forced entry must be proven to be considered burglary. Although this does not mean that a door lock or window has to be broken to gain entry. Simply turning a door knob is considered forced entry if the person entered the home or business with the intent of committing a crime.

Some states have also done away with the proof of forced entry being required for burglary. If a person walks through an open door of a home or business and commits a crime, this is still considered a burglary charge.

Criminal Intent 

Criminal intent must also be proven to bring burglary charges against the accused. While the criminal intent to steal is a common situation in burglary cases, this can also be proven if a theft does not occur.

If an unauthorized person enters a home or business and destroys personal belongings of the homeowner or products that the business owner could otherwise sell, this is also considered burglary. The value of those items that are lost is the same as stealing items that are of the same worth.

In some cases, a person can be charged with burglary if he breaks into a building and gets caught trying to steal or vandalize a home or building. However, this charge may be lowered to attempted burglary which may be considered a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the state the crime occurred in.

For further assistance, contact a local criminal law attorney, such as one from Larson, Latham, Huettl Attorneys.