DC Burglary Lawyer
Burglary is considered a violent offense and usually involves entering another person’s home. Since everyone has an expectation of safety in their own home, the government fights hard to protect people from these types of crimes.
A DC burglary lawyer acts as a person’s advocate in fighting the charges against them. An experienced theft attorney could listen to your version of the events in order to help prepare a defense.
What Does it Mean to Commit Burglary?
Generally, burglary exists when a person enters the dwelling or other building belonging to another person with the intent to commit a crime that is separate from unlawfully entering the property.
In other words, the person must have the intent while entering a dwelling or building to commit a different crime separate from burglary once they get inside the building.
Classifying Burglarizing as a Legal Offense
Burglary is a felony offense in DC that entails entering into a house or a building of another person with the intention of committing a crime once inside. A person charged with burglary should hire a DC burglary lawyer immediately.
Burglary is a very serious crime that is prosecuted aggressively. Depending on the circumstances of the burglary, a person could be imprisoned for up to 30 years.
What the Prosecution Must Prove for Burglary Conviction
The government must prove different elements depending on whether the burglary is charged as a first-degree burglary or secondary burglary. To prove a first-degree burglary, the government is required to prove that the person entered the dwelling of another or a room that is used for sleeping.
At the time the person entered, the government must prove that the person intended to commit a crime and that the dwelling or room was occupied by another person.
To prove second-degree burglary, the government must prove the person entered a dwelling or a building of another person and at the time the person entered, they had the intent to commit a crime. All of the elements must be proved beyond reasonable doubt to sustain a burglary conviction.
Burglary vs. Trespassing
In DC, trespass is referred to as an unlawful entry. Unlawful entry occurs when a person purposely enters a private or public building without authority and against the will of the person who is the lawful occupant or is lawfully in charge of the premises.
Burglary requires the additional element of the intention at the time of the entry to commit a crime once inside the property. In DC, unlawful entry is a misdemeanor, whereas burglary is a felony.
Penalties for Burglarizing
In DC, there is first-degree burglary and second-degree burglary. A burglary is considered first degree if the structure that is broken into is presently being occupied by a person and is a dwelling or a room that is used for sleeping. The mandatory minimum penalty is five years in jail for first-degree burglary and the maximum penalty is 30 years in prison and a $75,000 fine.
There is also a mandatory minimum penalty for second-degree burglary, which is two years in prison and a maximum penalty of 15 years and a $37,500. A DC burglary lawyer could mitigate the penalties that an individual may face.
Attempted Burglary Penalties
Even an attempted burglary is considered a serious offense. Since burglary is considered a crime of violence, an attempt to commit a burglary carries potential penalties of five years in prison, a $12,500 fine, or both.
Aggravating Factors for Burglary
Since burglary is considered to be a crime of violence, if the burglary was committed by a person who is armed with a firearm or other dangerous weapon, that person faces a mandatory minimum term of five years in prison, possibly up to 30 years, in addition to the penalty for the burglary.
For example, in a scenario where a person has a gun in their jacket when they enter someone’s home with the intention of stealing items in the home, that person faces an additional penalty of at least five years and up to 30 years for being armed while committing a burglary.
It is beneficial when someone has a DC burglary lawyer by their side every step of the way throughout their criminal case. An attorney can negotiate with prosecutors, investigate potential defenses, and begin to develop a trial strategy for the case.
Consequences for Damaging Another’s Property
The potential penalties for destruction of property depend on the amount of the loss and value of the property.
If one person causes damage to another person’s property while attempting to commit a burglary, that person could be charged with malicious destruction of property in addition to attempted burglary.
To prove malicious destruction of property, the government must show that the person intended to damage the property or at least was aware that his conduct created a substantial risk of harm to the property.
Importance of Working With a DC Burglary Attorney
It is very important to hire a DC burglary lawyer who is familiar with how burglary cases are investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department and prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office.
It is also advantageous to have a lawyer who has established a rapport and is in regular contact with local detectives and prosecutors.The lawyer is in the best position to advocate on a person’s behalf and work to get the best possible outcome to their case.