What is burglary? Burglary is a felony offense that can carry a prison sentence of up to five years. There are several different degrees of burglary. Each degree reflects the degree of wrongdoing committed. In California, for example, first-degree burglary can carry a two to six-year state prison sentence. However, if the burglary was not a serious one, it may only be charged as a misdemeanor.
The most basic definition of burglary is that it involves breaking and entering property. This includes a vehicle, boat, store, or building. It may also involve attempting to steal something or cause bodily harm to the building’s occupants. Although a thief may enter a home by breaking a window, he or she must also enter the building to steal items or property. The breaking element is not necessary in every case.
Under common law, the intent to commit a felony is required to commit a burglary. Previously, only people with a felonious intent could be charged with burglary. But today, this requirement has been lifted for all but the highest grade of burglary. In some states, the intent to commit any crime is enough to convict the criminal. But most states still require that the suspect has a criminal intent when committing a higher-grade crime.
The penalties for burglary vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. First-degree burglary is a misdemeanor, while third-degree burglary is a felony. A felony is an act where a person knowingly enters or stays in a building with the intent to commit a crime. Typically, the intent to steal or cause injury is sufficient to warrant imprisonment. Likewise, a third-degree burglary is an attempt to commit a crime before the general punishment is applied.
Unlike common-law burglary, which focuses on stealing from a person’s residence, the modern definition of burglary includes virtually any structure where a person can enter with the intent to commit a felony. Most states require that a building be capable of sheltering people, animals, and property. Houses, shops, and outlying structures all qualify as qualifying structures. This makes burglary an offense in any state.
While many jurisdictions have eliminated the nighttime element of a burglary crime, most still require the act to take place during the daytime. In addition, many states have adopted stricter laws for a higher degree of burglary than the lower. This means that a person who breaks into a building inside an amusement park can be charged with burglary, even if the burglar does not use the building as a habitation.
Burglary charges require proof that the individual intended to commit a crime. In most cases, the intent may be to steal money from a safe. While an actual crime may not take place, the intent to commit one exists. If the individual entered a building with the intent to commit a felony or steal property, it is a burglary. It is important to understand the difference between burglary and theft because burglary laws vary widely in their definitions.