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What are the elements of burglary?

On Behalf of | May 31, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Pennsylvania residents who find themselves arrested for burglary need to act fast. The charges can quickly work against you. Understanding the elements of burglary might help in your defense.

What is burglary?

Burglary is a theft crime that involves illegally entering a property or structure with the intention of committing a separate crime once inside. While most people think of a person breaking a window or picking a door lock to commit burglary, it’s possible to commit the crime by going inside the building through an open window or unlocked door.

The crime is classified as a felony due to the commission of a separate crime once inside the structure. For example, a man sees a house with an open window that appears to be empty. He goes in through the open window and sees cash sitting on a bedroom dresser and pockets it before leaving. This would be considered burglary and he could be charged with a felony.

What are the elements of burglary?

If a person is arrested and faces burglary charges, the prosecution would have to prove that all the elements of the crime are in place. Without all the elements, a conviction would not be possible. The first element is that the person does not have the legal right to enter.

The second element is the building, property or structure that’s being entered. No one needs to be inside the property at the time of the entering by the unlawful intruder.

The third element of burglary is that the person who illegally enters the structure fully intends to commit a separate crime while inside. Without all three elements in place in a burglary case, the prosecution would not be able to make a case to convict the person accused of the crime.

Burglary charges are serious, which means it’s important to take them seriously and get help. You should be proactive to protect your rights.