Burglary is a serious crime that can have far-reaching consequences for both the victim and the perpetrator. In New York, burglary is a criminal offense that is taken very seriously by law enforcement and the justice system. The state has specific laws and penalties in place to deter individuals from committing this crime and to hold those who do accountable for their actions. In this article, Eastcoastlaws.com will take a closer look at New York burglary laws, including what constitutes burglary, the different degrees of burglary, and the penalties associated with each degree. We will also discuss the potential defenses that may be available to those who are charged with burglary and what to do if you or a loved one is facing burglary charges in New York.
Definitions For Burglary In New York
Burglary is always regarded as a felony under New York law, whether it is in the first, second, or third degree. It is claimed that the individual who committed the offense intentionally entered or remained within a structure while doing so with the intent to commit a crime there. The unauthorized entry need not involve physically breaking into the structure.
Any crime that a person might do inside a building is different and distinct from the crime of burglary. According to New York law, a person commits a burglary when they willfully enter or remain within a building with the intent to commit a crime there, regardless of whether they ever actually commit or even attempt to commit a crime there.
According to New York law, a “building” includes any vehicle, structure, or watercraft that is “used for overnight lodging of persons, or used by persons therein for carrying on business, or used as an elementary or secondary school, or an enclosed motor truck, or an enclosed motor truck trailer” for the purposes of the burglary statute.
The following explanation is also included in the standard jury instructions for the criminal charge of burglary: “If a building consists of two or more separate secured or occupied units, each unit shall be deemed both a separate in itself and a component of the main building. The phrase “illegally” refers to when someone enters or resides in a building without the proper authorization or authorization to do so. If someone doesn’t have permission, authority, or a right to enter or stay in the facility, they are said to have no license or privilege to do so.
In the context of the burglary legislation in New York, the phrase “knowingly” means that the individual enters or remains unlawfully in a structure while being aware that they are doing so without the proper authorization or privilege. According to New York’s definition of “intent,” a person has a “conscious intention or purpose” to commit a crime in that structure.
What Are The Elements To Prove Burglary?
Burglary is a serious criminal offense that involves unlawful entry into a building or dwelling with the intention to commit a felony or theft. To prove burglary, certain elements must be present and proven beyond a reasonable doubt. These elements include:
- Unlawful entry: The first element of burglary is unlawful entry. This means that the defendant entered the building or dwelling without the consent of the owner or occupant. Entry may be accomplished by breaking a window, picking a lock, or even simply pushing open an unlocked door.
- Building or dwelling: The second element of burglary requires that the defendant entered a building or dwelling. A building can be any structure that has walls and a roof, such as a house, store, or warehouse. A dwelling refers to a place where someone lives, such as a home or apartment.
- Intent to commit a felony or theft: The third element of burglary requires that the defendant entered the building or dwelling with the intention to commit a felony or theft. This intent can be proven by showing that the defendant brought tools or weapons with them or that they acted in a way consistent with the commission of a felony or theft, such as breaking into a safe or rummaging through drawers.
- Breaking and entering: Some jurisdictions require that the defendant “break and enter” in order to be charged with burglary. This means that the defendant must have used force to gain entry, such as breaking a window or prying open a door.
- Time of entry: The final element of burglary is the time of entry. In most jurisdictions, the defendant must have entered the building or dwelling during the nighttime in order to be charged with burglary. This requirement is intended to protect people’s homes and businesses when they are most vulnerable.
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Degrees Of Burglary In New York
In New York, the crime of burglary is defined in Article 140 of the Penal Law. There are three degrees of this crime, Burglary in the First Degree (Penal Law 140.30), Burglary in the Second Degree (Penal Law Section 140.25), and Burglary in the Third Degree (Penal Law Section 140.20). There is another related offense which is the Possession of Burglar’s Tools (Penal Law Section 140.35).
Burglary in the Third Degree
According to New York Penal Code 140.20, felony Class “D,” status applies to third-degree burglaries. A person can be charged with burglary in the third degree in New York if they deliberately enter or remain within a building without permission with the intention of committing a crime there.
Burglary in the Second Degree
According to New York law, there are four separate classifications of second-degree burglary offenses or Class “C” felonies. For instance, New York Penal Code 140.25(1)(a) stipulates harsher punishments, elevating the burglary offense to a Class “C” felony, if there is a charge that the accused utilized explosives or a lethal weapon while conducting the burglary. The word “deadly weapon” refers, for the purposes of the burglary act, to any loaded weapon from which a shot, readily capable of causing death or other serious physical injuries, may be discharged. Examples of such weapons include firearms and several types of knives.
According to New York Penal Code 140.25(1)(b), a second-degree burglary can also be a Class “C” felony if the perpetrator is believed to have hurt another person physically while carrying out the burglary. The word “physical injury” is used in the burglary law of New York to refer to any impairment of bodily condition or significant pain.
According to New York Penal Code 140.25(1)(c), using or threatening to use a deadly object while committing a burglary is a second-degree burglary. According to the definition of “dangerous instrument,” it is “any instrument, article, or substance (including a vehicle) which, under the circumstances in which it is used, attempted to be used, or threatened to be used, is readily capable of causing death or other serious physical injuries, such as serious and protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health, or protracted loss or impairment of any bodily function.” According to that concept, a person need not actually inflict death or another major physical injury.
The fourth category of crime that qualifies as a burglary in the second degree involves the claim that the burglary was carried out in a structure that meets the definition of a “dwelling.” According to New York Penal Law 140.25(2), burglary of a dwelling is a Class “C” felony.
Burglary in the first degree
When someone enters or remains unlawfully within a home with the intent to commit a crime there, and while doing so, while inside the home, or while fleeing immediately after committing the crime, he or another participant in the crime:
- Is armed with explosives or a deadly weapon; or
- Causes physical injury to any person who is not a participant in the crime; or
- Uses or threatens the immediate use of a dangerous instrument; or
- Putting on display what appears to be a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, or other firearms; however, in any prosecution under this subdivision, it is an affirmative defense that such pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, or other firearm was not a loaded weapon from which a shot, readily capable of producing death or other serious physical injuries, could be discharged. Nothing in this subdivision shall serve as a defense to a prosecution for, or bar a finding of guilt for, a second-degree burglary, third-degree burglary, or any other offense.
Penalties For Burglary In New York
There are three distinct burglary offenses in New York. Stricter penalties are used when a residence is connected to a crime or when there is a big chance that a victim may get hurt.
Burglary in the third degree
The maximum term for third-degree burglary, a class D felony, is seven years in jail. Your prior criminal history has a significant impact on whether you are sentenced to prison and how long you must serve there. The judge might not sentence you to any prison term at all if you haven’t had any prior felonies within the last ten years. Your punishment might only be probation. The judge will sentence you to at least 2-4 years in prison if you have at least one recent felony conviction.
Burglary in the second degree
Second-degree burglary is a class C felony. 15 years in jail is the maximum penalty that can be given. The judge must impose a minimum sentence of 3.5 years because this crime is also a dangerous felony. The precise length of your prison term will depend on a number of variables, including your criminal history. If you have never committed a crime before, the judge may only sentence you to 3.5 years in prison. But, the judge will sentence you to at least 7 years in jail and up to 15 years in prison if you have previously been convicted of a felony.
Burglary in the first degree
First-degree burglary is a class B felony. 25 years in jail is the maximum penalty that can be given. The judge must impose a minimum sentence of 5 years because this crime is also a violent felony. The precise length of your prison term will depend on a number of variables, including your criminal history. If you have never committed a crime before, the judge may only sentence you to five years in prison. Nonetheless, the judge will sentence you to more than 5 years in jail and up to 25 years in prison if you have previously been convicted of a felony.
Burglary Defenses In New York
There are defenses for burglary in New York.
Burglary in the third degree
You have a defense to a burglary allegation if you can demonstrate that even though you were on the property illegally, you were not there to commit a crime. For instance, if you were accidentally locked in while department store shopping and were no longer permitted to be there, you were not there to steal or carry out any other illegal activity.
Burglary in the second degree
A charge of second-degree burglary can be defended in a number of ways. If you are accused of possessing a deadly weapon, for instance, the prosecution must show that the weapon was actually lethal. A dull, un-serrated knife with a circular tip would probably not be regarded as a lethal weapon. The person’s injury must be severe enough to meet the criteria for physical injury under New York Criminal Law if you are accused of second-degree burglary based on causing them physical harm.
Burglary in the first degree
The prosecutor must show that your presence in the home was improper in order to convict you of burglary in the first degree. The prosecutor will have a difficult time showing that you committed burglary if you were invited inside the house and did not stay there unreasonably.
Differences Between Burglary And Robbery
Robbery and burglary are two distinct crimes that are frequently mixed up. Both crimes include stealing things that don’t belong to you, although they differ greatly from one another.
Burglary is a crime that involves forcible entry into a structure with the purpose of committing another felony there. Even if no property is taken from the structure or damage is done, a burglary can still be committed. For instance, a person can still be charged with burglary even if they break into a residence with the aim to take jewels but depart empty-handed. Burglary is a serious criminal, and depending on the specifics of the act, the severity of the sentence varies.
Contrarily, robbery is the act of stealing something from someone else by using force or the threat of force. The fact that robberies involve direct contact with the victim sets them apart from burglaries as the main distinction. In a robbery, the perpetrator attacks the victim and takes their property using violence or intimidation. Since robbery is a violent crime, it carries harsher penalties than burglary.
The degree of purpose necessary to commit the offense distinguishes burglary and robbery, which is another significant distinction. While inside the building, a burglar must have the intention to commit a crime. This indicates that a person cannot be accused of burglary if they enter a building without the purpose to conduct a crime but afterward change their minds and steal something. But, in a robbery, the use of force or threat of force makes the criminal intent clear.
The diverse forms of property involved in the crimes are another distinction. Property taken in a burglary is often something that is inside of a building or structure, like a house or a place of business. In a robbery, the victim’s personal property, such as wallets, phones, or jewelry, is taken directly from them.
In conclusion, despite the fact that both robbery and burglary entail the taking of property, there are important distinctions between the two crimes. In contrast to robbery, which involves using force or the threat of using force to take items directly from a victim, burglary entails entering a building with the intention of committing a crime. Each offense’s circumstances, including the level of violence used and the value of the property, seized, determine the severity of the sentence. It’s critical to comprehend the distinctions between these two crimes in order to ensure that the proper accusations are made and that offenders receive the proper penalty.
Legal Rights Of Burglary Defendants
Burglary is a serious crime that can result in significant legal consequences for those who are charged with it. However, like all defendants in criminal cases, burglary defendants have certain legal rights that must be respected throughout the legal process. Here are some of the most important legal rights of burglary defendants:
- Right to an Attorney: The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to counsel for all defendants in criminal cases. This means that a burglary defendant has the right to an attorney, either one provided by the court or one hired privately.
- Right to Remain Silent: The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution provides the right to remain silent and not incriminate oneself. This means that a burglary defendant has the right to refuse to answer questions or provide evidence that may be used against them.
- Presumption of Innocence: The legal system operates on the principle of “innocent until proven guilty.” This means that a burglary defendant is presumed innocent until the prosecution can prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Right to a Fair Trial: The Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to due process of law. This means that a burglary defendant has the right to a fair trial, which includes the right to an impartial jury and the right to present a defense.
- Right to Confront Witnesses: The Sixth Amendment also guarantees the right to confront witnesses. This means that a burglary defendant has the right to cross-examine witnesses who testify against them.
- Right to Appeal: If a burglary defendant is found guilty, they have the right to appeal the verdict to a higher court. This allows for a review of the trial and any potential errors that may have occurred.
In addition to these legal rights, burglary defendants also have the right to be treated fairly and respectfully throughout the legal process. This includes being informed of the charges against them, receiving a speedy trial, and being free from any unreasonable searches or seizures. It is important for burglary defendants to understand their legal rights and to work with an experienced attorney to ensure that those rights are protected throughout the legal process.