Montgomery County Burglary Defense Lawyer
Charged With A Burglary Crime And Have Questions? We Can Help, Tell Us What Happened.
What Constitutes a Burglary in Montgomery County?
In legal terms, a burglary is defined as committing a crime inside of a building or occupied structure that you have entered without permission. When arguing for a burglary conviction, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you entered a building to commit a crime there.
In some cases, the intended crime is robbery, but the crime doesn’t need to involve stealing something. If the prosecution can prove that you intended to commit any crime, you could be convicted of burglary.
Is Burglary a Felony in Montgomery County?
Many crimes are graded on a scale from a misdemeanor to a felony. Misdemeanors are the minor version of a crime. They are typically nonviolent or are less offensive. Felonies are the more serious version of a crime typically involving more severe behavior and higher stakes.
For example, if you steal something worth less than $50, you may be charged with a third-degree misdemeanor. On the other hand, if the value of what you stole was more than $2,000, then you would be charged with third-degree felony theft.
Unlike theft, every burglary is a felony in Pennsylvania whether or not you had to break in to enter the building. In Pennsylvania, burglaries can be graded to be in the first or second degree:
- Second-degree felony burglary: Breaking into and unlawfully entering a building while unarmed to commit a crime
- First-degree felony burglary: Entering or remaining inside of a building unlawfully to commit a crime against a person or the property residing within the building
Since burglaries are felonies, they tend to be penalized harshly with high fees and lengthy prison sentences. Someone convicted of second-degree burglary faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $25,000. First-degree burglary is also punishable with a $25,000 fine, but the maximum prison sentence is extended to 20 years.
Strategies That Can Be Used Against a Burglary Charge
Though the penalties are severe and the prosecution may fight aggressively, fighting a burglary charge isn’t hopeless. Even if they can’t get the charge dropped, a qualified attorney could be able to argue a strong defense that can benefit your case in some way.
Depending on the details of your case, your attorney may be able to use one of the following strategies to their advantage:
- Arguing that a burglary did not take place and the defendant was wrongly implicated or framed for the crime
- Arguing that the building appeared to be abandoned and burglary charges do not apply to abandoned buildings
- Arguing that the building was public property, so even if the defendant committed a crime there, a burglary charge technically does not apply
- Arguing that the defendant entered the building without the intent of committing a crime could get the charge reduced to criminal trespass if the prosecutor cannot prove criminal intent
- Arguing that the defendant was misidentified as the culprit and the burglary was committed by someone else
A lawyer may advise you to plead not guilty, taking your case to court. It’s possible that after evaluating your case, your lawyer determined that they could use one of these defense strategies to build a strong defense and potentially get your charges reduced or dropped.
Reach Out to a Montgomery County Burglary Defense Lawyer as Soon as Possible
The last thing you want to do is underestimate the severity of a burglary conviction. By trying to handle your case on your own, you are risking thousands of dollars, copious amounts of time, your freedom, and your reputation. Protect yourself by reaching out to a skilled criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
At Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, our staff of highly skilled legal professionals is ready to work toward the best possible outcome for your case. By contacting our firm as soon as possible, you are providing us with the valuable time we will need to evaluate your case and construct an effective defense plan. In turn, we may be able to use the skills we have garnered from more than 65 years of practice to provide you with the aggressive representation you need to succeed. Get in touch with our firm by calling (215) 822-7575 or submitting our contact form.