Maryland Burglary Lawyer
Each year around 37,000 breaking and entering crimes are reported throughout Maryland. Depending on the nature of the crime and the factual circumstances of each case, an individual convicted of burglary could be sentenced to up to 20 years of jail time. Consulting with an experienced and reputable Maryland criminal attorney will provide you with a better understanding of how to best fight your charge(s). Retaining qualified representation from a local attorney with knowledge of Maryland criminal statues, will take the burden of navigating the complex and harsh criminal justice system off of your shoulders. En Español.
Maryland Burglary Law
Burglary is a criminal offense that is sometimes referred to as trespassing, housebreaking, or B&E (breaking and entering). In the state of Maryland, the criminal offense of burglary is broken down into four different degrees. Fourth degree burglary is a misdemeanor under the Maryland criminal code, § 6-205(a)(b). The other burglary-related violations, degrees one through three, are all felonies. The varying degrees can also be broken into sub-categories, such as second-degree burglary/firearm. Furthermore, there are specific types of burglary which may be classified as a felony or misdemeanor under certain circumstances that must be met. Breaking and entering with explosives is one example of this. Depending on the severity of the crime and which degree of burglary you are accused of committing, the potential jail time will vary greatly if you are in fact convicted.
First degree burglary, as stated under § 6-202 of the criminal code, is the breaking and entering into a “dwelling” with some sort of intent to commit a theft or a violent crime. The intent to commit theft could be a misdemeanor or a felony. This crime is punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment and is a felony in the state of Maryland.
In Maryland, second degree burglary is similar to the first degree, with the main difference being that the crime is committed on a “storehouse” as opposed to a private residence. Generally a storehouse means any building, such as a farm barn, factory, educational facility, or public building, but it can also include certain vehicles, such as a train car, airplane or helicopter. The law also dictates in § 6-203(a) that burglary of the second degree must involve intent to commit violent crime, robbery (theft), or arson. Second degree burglary is a felony and punishable up to 15 years in prison.
Second Degree Firearm
Almost identical to the general second degree burglary statute, CR 6-203(b) explains that one must have the intent to take a firearm. This section also notes that it must be a storehouse that is broken into. However, if the convicted person does so with intent to steal a firearm, he or she may be punished with up to 20 years in prison, instead of the 15-year maximum prescribed for general second degree burglary.
Third degree burglary is defined by one entering a dwelling with the intent to commit a crime. This is different than first and second degree burglary, as no specific crimes are listed. This crime is a felony and punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Breaking and entering in the fourth degree, in the state of Maryland, is charged as a misdemeanor. This does not mean that one cited with this crime can take the charges lightly. Maryland state law § 6-205(a)(b) says that one who enters a dwelling or a store house by breaking in may be charged – irrespective of whether or not there is the intent to commit a crime. In other words, the act of “breaking in” alone is in violation of the law. Fourth degree burglary is punishable by up to three years in prison.
Fourth Degree Theft
This particular section of Maryland state law involves breaking and entering into a dwelling, storehouse, backyard, front yard, land or garden. There must be intent to commit theft as stated in § 6-205(c). This crime is a misdemeanor punishable by up to three years in prison.
Fourth Degree Tools
§ 6-205(d) forbids the possession of tools with the intention of using them for the commission of breaking and entering. Again, this is a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of three years.
Burglary Tools Motor Vehicle Possession
Under Maryland state law it is illegal to be in possession of burglary tools with the intention of breaking into and entering an automobile or any other motor vehicle. This criminal offense is similar to fourth-degree tools, except that it specifically applies to the burglary of a motor vehicle. § 6-206(a) does however carry the same penalties as the above. A subsection of this law, titled Rogue and Vagabond (§ 6-206(b)), carries the same penalty for merely being present in the motor vehicle with the intent to commit theft of the motor vehicle.
Burglary With Explosives
This specific statute explains what must be done to be charged with this crime and the potential ramifications. In order to be charged for burglary with explosives under § 6-207, one must commit first through third degree burglary using explosives to open some sort of lock, safe, or vault. Oftentimes the charge of fourth-degree burglary with tools is accompanied with burglary with explosives. This crime is a felony with a maximum potential jail time of 20 years.
Burglary Research Facility
Breaking into a research facility can be a very serious offense if you are charged. Fines levied can be as much as $5,000 along with a potential sentence of up to five years of jail. The term “research facility” can be interpreted to apply to a number of different facilities, but a common example is a laboratory. Under § 6-208, if one enters a facility without permission and attempts to control, manipulate, or damage any materials, then such a person is in violation of the law
Working with a Maryland Burglary Attorney
A person charged with burglary definitely needs to have an attorney who understands the criminal law and has had experience with trials. It is essential to work with an attorney who has a strong familiarity with the laws of burglary. There are a lot of different case scenarios, and depending on what the State may be able to prove, there can be serious penalties.
An experienced Maryland burglary lawyer is going to work hard to understand the evidence in the case and try to provide proof that there was no burglary that took place. An experienced defense attorney is going to understand the different scenarios that change the burglary misdemeanor to a felony. It would be wise to retain an experienced defense attorney if you are facing burglary charges in Maryland.