Maryland Burglary Penalties
There are various Maryland burglary penalties an individual charged or convicted could face. Whether a Fourth Degree Burglary, which is a misdemeanor, to a First Degree Burglary, which is a felony, it is critical to have a skilled burglary attorney’s assistance. During the trial, the prosecutor needs to prove that there was a burglary and which type of burglary was committed. An experienced attorney has the resources and knowledge to challenge the Prosecutor’s evidence.
If you have been charged with burglary, it is essential that you have legal representation. A skilled Maryland burglary attorney can assist you and do everything in their power to lessen potential penalties.
Degrees of Burglary
There are four different degrees of burglary in Maryland and what differentiates them is the building that was broken into and what the defendant’s intent was. The smallest degree of burglary is Burglary in the Fourth Degree. In order to be convicted of that, the State has to prove that the defendant broke and entered the dwelling of another, or broke and entered the storehouse of another. The State does not have to prove any particular intent.
If the State can prove that the defendant broke into and entered the dwelling or the storehouse of another, then they could be convicted of Fourth Degree Burglary, which carries the same misdemeanor but a maximum penalty of up to three years. It is also important to understand that Fourth Degree Burglary also entails being in or on the owner’s yard or their garden area. In those circumstances, there would have to be a proof that they were there with the intent to commit some sort of act. Maryland burglary penalties differentiate for the four degrees of burglary.
Range of Burglary Penalties
The penalty for Fourth Degree Burglary, a misdemeanor, is three years incarceration. The next level of burglary is Third Degree Burglary, a felony, with a maximum penalty of 10 years incarceration. The difference between Fourth Degree and Third Degree is that it elevates the crime from a misdemeanor to a felony. The State would have to prove that the defendant broke and entered the dwelling of another, but Third Degree, they have to prove intent to commit a crime other than the breaking and entering.
Second Degree Burglary is breaking and entering the storehouse of another with a specific intent to either commit a theft, a crime of violence, or arson. It is important to understand that Second Degree Burglary applies to storehouses, not someone’s dwelling. The maximum penalty for this level is incarceration not exceeding 15 years.
However, if the State can prove that the defendant’s intent was to steal or take a firearm, the maximum penalty can be increased to 20 years. The most severe form of burglary, First Degree Burglary, a felony, carries a maximum penalty of up to 20 years. Under certain circumstances, the maximum penalty can be increased to 25 years.
In order to prove First Degree Burglary, the State has to prove that a person broke and entered the dwelling of another and did so with the intent to commit a theft or a crime of violence. It is considered the most serious because it involves entering into somebody’s home versus a storehouse, and was done with the intent to commit another crime or a theft. That is the most severe form of burglary in Maryland.
The crime of burglary is a serious charge and is more serious if it is a breaking and entering of someone’s home versus a storehouse. It becomes even more serious of an offense if it is shown that the defendant’s intent was to commit a theft or a crime of violence versus the defendant just having the general intent of committing the breaking and the entering. When those additional factors are added, the crime is elevated from a misdemeanor burglary to a felony burglary and the Maryland burglary penalties become more severe.
Benefit of a Skilled Attorney
There are various legal defenses that are available to combat burglary charges and related offenses. A dedicated Maryland burglary attorney can examine the evidence and circumstances of their client’s case. They can assist their client with having their charges dropped.
A qualified attorney has the resources and knowledge to do everything in their power to obtain a favorable plea deal from the state’s attorney, avoid Maryland burglary penalties, and otherwise minimizing the effects of your criminal charge. Consult a skilled defense attorney if you are facing burglary charges in Maryland.