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The elements of a burglary charge

On Behalf of | Jun 24, 2022 | blog, Criminal defense

In New York, burglary is classified into three different felony class offenses. The minimum elements of a burglary charge require a person to enter or unlawfully remain in a building or structure with the intent to commit a crime therein. Burglary in the third degree is the least serious and qualifies as a Class D felony. Burglary in the second degree qualifies as a Class C felony. Burglary in the first degree is the most serious, qualifying as a Class B felony.

The minimum elements of burglary

Under New York Penal Law 142.20, third-degree burglary is defined as a crime meeting the aforementioned minimum elements. A building may also be defined as a watercraft used for overnight lodging, school, or business. Breaking in is not required, entering an unopened entrance may qualify as burglary. Entering or remaining unlawfully is generally defined as doing so without license and privilege, like remaining after hours or attempting to access areas closed to the public.

Aggravated burglary

Burglary aggravates to second-degree Class C felony charges if any participants are armed with explosives or a deadly weapon, injure a non-participant, threaten the immediate use of a dangerous instrument, or display anything resembling a firearm. Second-degree burglary charges may apply if the building is a dwelling, a structure occupied by a person lodging at night. Anyone accused of knowingly entering a dwelling and committing any of the aforementioned may need a criminal defense strategy for first-degree burglary charges.

Burglary charges in New York

Under New York Penal Law Article 10.00, a felony is defined as an offense that may impose a term of imprisonment that exceeds one year. Larceny or theft is not necessary, these charges may apply to other crimes like assault or criminal mischief. In addition, Section 140.35 establishes the possession of burglary tools as a Class A misdemeanor offense.