Wilkes-Barre, Hazleton, Scranton & Surrounding CountiesAvailable 24/7, Nights, Weekends & Holidays | Affordable Payment Plans | Free Consultations
Firm Logo

Elements of Burglary: What Constitutes Unlawful Entry?

Elements of Burglary: What Constitutes Unlawful Entry?Elements of Burglary: What Constitutes Unlawful Entry?

If you're facing burglary charges in Pennsylvania, understanding the elements that constitute this offense can be crucial for your defense. Burglary, commonly misunderstood as mere theft, involves specific criteria that prosecutors must prove to secure a conviction. One key component is "unlawful entry," a term that carries substantial weight in a burglary case. This article aims to demystify the various elements that constitute burglary and what qualifies as 'unlawful entry' within the state of Pennsylvania.

Definition of Burglary in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, burglary is defined under Title 18, Section 3502 of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code. The law defines burglary as the unlawful entry into an occupied building or structure with the aim to commit a crime inside, unless the location is open to the public or the person has permission to be there.

Two Types of Burglary

  • First-Degree Burglary: This involves unlawful entry into an occupied residential building with the intent to commit a crime inside and is typically met with severe penalties.
  • Second-Degree Burglary: This refers to unlawful entry into an unoccupied building (not a residence), still with the intent to commit a crime.

Unlawful Entry- What It Means

Unlawful entry forms the cornerstone of a burglary charge. For a person to be charged with burglary, there must be a clear violation of another's property rights. This doesn't necessarily mean that "breaking and entering" must occur—unlawful entry can take various forms:

  • Forceful Entry: Breaking a window or picking a lock
  • Deceptive Entry: Gaining access by tricking or deceiving the property owner
  • Constructive Entry: Manipulating someone else to enter the premises on your behalf
  • Remaining: Staying in a building or structure after permission has been revoked with the intent to commit a crime

III. Differentiating Burglary, Theft, and Trespassing:

Understanding the distinctions between burglary, theft, and trespassing is vital.

  • Burglary: Unlawful entry with the intent to commit an offense inside.
  • Theft: Unlawfully taking someone else's property without unlawful entry into a structure.
  • Trespassing: Entering someone else's property without permission but without the intent to commit a further crime.

IV. Constituent Elements of Burglary:

To secure a conviction for burglary, the prosecution must prove:

  • Unlawful Entry: As discussed, entry without permission.
  • Intent to Commit a Crime: Mere entry isn't sufficient; criminal intent must be demonstrated.
  • Type of Structure: The kind of building entered can impact the degree of the burglary charge.

A conviction for burglary can lead to severe consequences, ranging from imprisonment to fines and a permanent criminal record.

1. First-Degree Burglary: Imprisonment for up to 20 years and a fine of up to $25,000.

2. Second-Degree Burglary: Up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

Defending Against Burglary Charges

If charged with burglary, it is imperative to consult with a seasoned criminal defense attorney. Defenses may include:

  • Lack of Intent: Arguing that there was no criminal intent
  • Permission to Enter: Evidence showing consent to enter the premises
  • Mistaken Identity: Providing an alibi or other proof

Given the complexity and gravity of burglary charges, it is crucial to seek out experienced legal counsel. A skilled attorney can evaluate your case, identify weaknesses in the prosecution's arguments, and strategize the best course of action tailored to your circumstances.

Key Takeaway

Understanding the elements of burglary, especially what constitutes unlawful entry, is critical for anyone facing such charges in Pennsylvania. The consequences are severe, making it imperative to consult a qualified criminal defense attorney, such as Muckler Law.

Contact Muckler Law, LLC Today For a Free Consultation About Your Criminal Defense

When your future is hanging in the balance due to burglary charges, you can't afford to take any chances. At Muckler Law, we specialize in criminal defense, particularly in the complex area of theft offenses in Pennsylvania. With years of experience, a keen understanding of legal intricacies, and an unmatched dedication to defending your rights, we are the firm you need by your side.

Our legal team is well-versed in Pennsylvania’s criminal code, allowing us to navigate the complexities of burglary cases skillfully. Every case is unique, and we pride ourselves on crafting personalized defense strategies that address the specific elements and circumstances of your charges. Our success stories speak for themselves. With numerous case dismissals and reduced sentences, our clients can vouch for our effectiveness.

Don't leave your future up to chance. Contact us today for a confidential consultation and take the first step towards regaining control of your life.

Logo IconLogo Icon
Quote IconQuote Icon
Great lawyer handled my case in a blink of an eye

“Attorney Muckler handled my hearing and I was very happy with the outcome. He is very easy to talk to and a great guy. I look forward to working with him in the future.”

Muckler LogoMuckler Logo
570-908-4069Map + Directions© 2024 Muckler Law, LLC. All Rights Reserved.Site Map.Disclaimer.