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Maryland Burglary Laws

In the state of Maryland, burglary as a crime is broken down into four degrees, in addition to related breaking and entering-type crimes. However, if you are facing burglary charges, this information is not a substitute for the experience of a Maryland burglary lawyer, who can explain how the Maryland burglary laws apply to the facts of your case.

First Degree Burglary

A person is guilty of burglary in the first degree if they break and enter into the home of another individual  with the intent to commit theft or a violent crime. Burglary in the first degree is a felony and an individual guilty of this crime faces up to 20 years in prison.

Second Degree Burglary

A person is guilty of burglary in the second degree if the person breaks and enters into a building, storeroom, trailer, barn, or other building that is not a home with the intent to commit theft, arson, or a violent crime. If an individual is guilty of burglary in the second degree as described above, the guilty party faces a felony conviction with up to 15 years in prison.

A person is also guilty of burglary in the second degree if the individual breaks and enters into a building that is not a home with the intent to carry away, take, or steal a firearm of any kind.

If an individual is guilty of burglary in the second degree as described in the last paragraph (with intent to steal a firearm), then that person faces penalties of a felony conviction with up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Third Degree Burglary

A person is guilty of burglary in the third degree if the person breaks and enters into the home of another person with the intent to commit a crime. If a person is guilty of burglary in the third degree, the guilty party faces a felony conviction with the penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

Fourth Degree Burglary

There are four separate ways an individual can be found guilty of burglary in the fourth degree.

  • If the perpetrator breaks and enters into the home of another person.
  • If the perpetrator breaks and enters into a building that is not a home.
  • If the perpetrator is inside the home of another person, a building (not home), or another part of the home or building (e.g., yard, garden, etc.) with the intent to commit theft.
  • If the perpetrator is in possession of a burglar’s tool (e.g., crowbar, pry bar, jack, picklock, or device that can burn through metal, etc.) with the intent to use the tool or permit the use of the tool to commit burglary.

If a person is guilty of fourth-degree burglary then the guilty party faces conviction of a misdemeanor with up to three years in prison.

Breaking and Entering into Motor Vehicle

Aside from the four degrees of burglary, which account for breaking and entering into buildings, state laws also prohibit breaking and entering into cars or other motor vehicles.

A person is guilty of breaking and entering a motor vehicle if the person is in possession of a burglar’s tool (e.g., picklock, jack, crowbar, etc.) with the intent to use the tool or permit the use of the tool for breaking and entering into a motor vehicle.

It is also considered breaking and entering a motor vehicle if the person is inside or on the motor vehicle of another person with intent to commit theft of the vehicle or property inside or on top of the vehicle.

If a person is guilty of this crime, the guilty party will face conviction of a misdemeanor and up to three years in prison.

Burglary with Destructive Device

A person is guilty of burglary with a destructive device if the perpetrator opens or attempts to open a vault, safe, or similar secure storage device through the use of a destructive device while committing burglary in the first, second, or third degree.

A destructive device is defined as any explosive, incendiary, or toxic material that has a detonating apparatus so as to be capable of damaging property or wounding people, or specifically designed to give the device characteristics of military explosive. Destructive devices include, but are not limited to: pipe bombs, grenades, bombs, and mines.

If an individual is found guilty of burglary with destructive device, then the guilty party faces a felony conviction and up to 20 years in prison. Furthermore, an individual can potentially be charged with this crime and with burglary or another crime arising out of the same act as this violation.

How a Burglary Lawyer Can Help

Burglary is a serious crime in Maryland and can result in serious fines and jail time. A Maryland burglary lawyer can help explain how the law applies to your case. More importantly, your lawyer will build your defense and put forth the most persuasive arguments in your favor to mitigate the negative impacts of a burglary charge or conviction.