If you enter a structure without permission, you may be charged with burglary. However, there are several elements that a New York prosecutor must prove before you can be convicted of the crime.
You gain entry to a structure that you don’t own
The first element of a burglary charge is that you entered any type of dwelling or building without authorization. You don’t have to enter it by force to be charged with this crime. For instance, if you went into a home through an unlocked door, that may be enough for a prosecutor to potentially obtain a conviction in your case.
You intend to commit a crime
The other key element of a burglary is intent to commit a crime while inside of a home, office building or boathouse. For instance, if you wanted to steal something out of your neighbor’s house, that would generally constitute burglary. However, simply entering your neighbor’s home with the intent to drink beer while underage or to consume marijuana would likely be enough to justify a burglary charge.
How to defend against a burglary charge
There are many criminal defense strategies that you may be able to use to cast doubt on the allegations made by the government. For instance, you could argue that you had permission to be wherever authorities found you when taken into custody. It may also be possible to argue that you had no intention to commit a crime by force, by persuasion or by any other means.
If convicted of a burglary charge, you may be sentenced to jail or prison time, a fine or other penalties. It may be possible to avoid these penalties by having evidence suppressed before a trial in an effort to weaken the case against you. It may also be possible to cast doubt on witness testimony or other evidence that is allowed to be presented in court.