What is burglary? Burglary, also known as “breaking and entering”, entails a forced entry into a building with the intent to commit an illegal act. The intended illegal act is usually theft, but the forced entry may also be for the purposes of murder, rape, or arson, vandalism, or another criminal offense. Virginia recognizes two types of burglary, common law burglary and statutory burglary:
Common Law Burglary
Illegally entering another person’s house at nighttime (which is defined as 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise). To secure a conviction for this offense, The Commonwealth must prove that:
- The accused broke and entered the dwelling house of another
- The accused did so at nighttime
- The accused did so with the intent to commit either larceny or a felony offense Penalties – Class 3 felony, 5-20 years in prison, and a fine of up to $100,000
- If the accused used a deadly weapon while committing burglary, the offense becomes Armed Burglary, which is a Class 2 Felony and carries with it a prison sentence of 20 years to life, along with a $100,000 fine.
There are three types of statutory burglary in Virginia. All three offenses include “breaking and entering. “Breaking” is defined as the use of some force, however slight, to gain entry. Actual breaking requires the use of physical force. Constructive breaking requires the use of threats, fraud, trickery, conspiracy, or other malevolent conduct designed to prompt the victim to let the defendant inside. “Entering” occurs whenever any part of a person’s body, even just a hand, enters the premises.
- Breaking and Entering with Intent to Commit Murder, Rape, Robbery, or Arson Penalties – 5-20 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000
- Breaking and Entering with Intent to Commit Larceny, Assault and Battery, or Felony other than Murder, Rape, Robbery, or Arson
- Penalties – 1-20 years in prison, a jail sentence of up to 12 months, and a fine of up to $2500.00
- Breaking and Entering a Dwelling House with Intent to Commit a Misdemeanor other than Trespass or Assault and Battery
- Penalties – 1-5 years in prison, a jail sentence of up to 12 months, and a fine of up to $2500.00
Why should I consult an attorney? Being charged with burglary can have a devastating effect on your reputation, your livelihood and your overall mental wellbeing, and there are many viable defense strategies that The Paracha Firm will explore on your behalf.
If you have been charged with Burglary, contact The Paracha Firm now for a no-fee consultation.