Federal Burglary Defense Lawyers
Prosecutors can pursue theft charges using a broad range of statutes and common-law allegations. That leads to confusion and a lack of predictability in the general public. Regrettably, people can nearly commit crimes without even realizing it.
Burglary is a common example. Did you know, for instance, that it’s possible to be convicted of burglary even if you never take anything? Even though we talk about burglary as a “theft crime,” theft isn’t actually an element of the crime at all.
People are even accused of burglary when they enter a building under the belief that they’re allowed to be there. Sometimes, there is confusion between two parties as to who’s supposed to be where and when. Typically, such confusion amounts to little more than a misunderstanding – but when law enforcement enters the picture, those misunderstandings get out of control.
You can see, then, how people end up accused of burglary even when they never meant to commit a crime.
But it’s important to understand that intent is an essential part of the crime. We’ll take a closer look at the question of intent below. Here at the outset, we simply want you to understand that the crime of burglary isn’t always what it seems.
Misunderstandings and trumped-up charges are common. But even if your case is one big misunderstanding, or simply an error in judgment, the ramifications of conviction are enormous.
That is particularly true if the crime is prosecuted at the federal level, as burglary sometimes is.
Prosecutors are anxious to pursue big burglary charges and get a major conviction. The truth, though, is that lesser charges may actually be more appropriate. Often, the government’s best course of action is simply to drop the charges altogether. And that is our goal.
But unless you fight the charges with aggressive legal representation, you could be looking at much tougher penalties than you deserve.
No matter the circumstances surrounding your case, if you are being charged with burglary in Texas or at the federal level, you should contact the experienced federal burglary defense lawyers at Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP as soon as you can.
What Constitutes the Crime of Burglary?
Burglary is a crime with wide parameters, so a lot of incidents and scenarios could potentially trigger the charge.
Burglary is generally defined as:
- Entering someone else’s premises without permission, with the intent of committing theft, an assault, or other felony, or
- Hiding inside a building (or home) with the intent to commit theft, assault, or a felony.
As you may have noticed, by that definition, simply entering the premises can lead to burglary charges – even if no other crime is committed and no property is taken!
Essentially, if police and prosecutors believe you intended to commit a crime inside, you could be charged and convicted.
For that matter, even if you enter a building lawfully, burglary charges could still be applied if you conceal yourself on the premises without permission and with the intent to commit a crime.
A common example involves entering a store during the day and hiding until the store is closed in order to steal, vandalize, or commit another crime within the building. Here again, even if the secondary crime is never committed, the burglary charge can still stand.
Technically, burglary charges can even be applied for merely attempting to “break into” a building. By law, if any part of your body enters the premises without permission, you could be charged. That means that if your hand or a tool (which the prosecution could argue is attached to your body, since you’re holding it) enters the building by even just a little, you could be guilty of burglary. Of course, the government would still have to prove intent.
Other Forms of Burglary
While all burglary charges should be taken seriously, the severity of these charges will depend greatly on the nature and location of the premises (as well as what happens inside).
If the building in question is someone’s home, you’re looking at a home invasion charge, typically prosecuted as a second-degree felony. Home invasions can be increased to first-degree felonies if the home is entered with the intent to commit any felony other than theft.
If the building in question is not a place where someone lived at the time, the potential sentences are slightly lighter, but we’re still looking at a potential felony case.
Burglary can also be prosecuted as a federal crime. Those cases are much more complicated and demand experienced, full-throttled legal defense. Most state-level criminal defense attorneys are not sufficiently experienced in federal defense.
Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP is proud to offer experienced legal defense in both state and federal court. We even work with former federal prosecutors, FBI agents, and more to provide our clients the best possible defense.
Contact Our Federal Burglary Defense Lawyers
No matter the circumstances of your case, you deserve the very best representation.
Call the experienced federal burglary defense lawyers at Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP today at 1-888-356-4634 or contact us online and ask for a free consultation.