Burglary and robbery crimes are similar but have different elements. If you’re accused of committing burglary, it’s essential to understand all of the components associated with this crime as you want to ensure your criminal defense tactics are the best they can be to help you win your case. These elements include unauthorized breaking and entry into a building or occupied structure intending to commit a crime inside.
Unauthorized breaking and entry
The first component of committing a burglary involves unauthorized breaking and entry. This element can be broken into two methods. The first involves using physical force, and the second includes gaining access without physical force, such as fraud or blackmail. However, to be accused of burglary, the evidence must show that you entered the structure in some form physically without the consent of the person occupying the structure.
Intrusion into a building or occupied structure
You can be accused of committing burglary for breaking into almost any type of building or structure as long as it meets the specific requirements. Typically, state laws require the structure to be inhabitable or closed to the public when the burglary occurs.
Intent to commit a crime
To be considered a burglary, a prosecutor must show you wanted to commit the crime and take something after entering the structure. In addition, law officials will determine the degree of the burglary charge against you by examining the timing of your intent. If it’s found you planned on committing the crime before breaking into the structure, you might have a more challenging criminal defense case due to the more severe, first-degree crime you’re accused of committing.
Understanding the three components of burglary can help distinguish this crime from others, such as robbery. Doing so is critical as the penalties may be harsher if you’re accused of burglary.