Like many kinds of crimes, receiving a burglary charge is not something that you should take lightly, as it can leave you with difficulties for the rest of your life. Burglary is a charge that typically coincides with other charges, such as theft, robbery, or other property crimes.
When you are facing a charge like this, get in touch with a dedicated criminal attorney at the Law Office of Chris Miller. A Columbia burglary lawyer can defend your rights and protect your freedom.
Each state has a different definition of how burglary works, but in Missouri, all burglary involves breaking and entering into a building with the intent of committing a crime. The state of Missouri also denotes two severities of burglary: 1st and 2nd degree.
Missouri law defines 2nd Degree Burglary as when a person unlawfully enters or remains inside a building with the intent of committing a different crime. The definition of ‘entering’ can be interpreted different ways.
For example, you do not have to bring your entire person into a building before it is considered burglary. ‘Buildings’ could mean more than just homes. You can still get in trouble for burglary if you enter anything considered a “inhabitable structure,” whether it’s a business after hours or your neighbor’s backyard shed.
As the name would suggest, 1st Degree Burglary is the most serious kind of burglary charge you can receive in Missouri. There are specific stipulations that escalate a charge to 1st degree, the first of which being the presence of a deadly weapon, such as a firearm or explosive. The crime is considered 1st degree in nature if there is another person in the building who is not a participant or accomplice to the crime.
Similarly, your burglary charge will be 1st degree if you threaten or cause harm to an innocent person in the building with you. The element of violence involved can not only escalate your charge, but the punishment you receive as well. Regardless of which degree of burglary you face, a Columbia lawyer can help build a case in your favor.
As with any criminal case, the exact punishment you receive is largely dependent on the circumstances of your crime. In general, however, you can expect a felony charge for burglary. In the case of 2nd Degree Burglary, you can expect a Class D Felony, which carries a maximum of seven years of jail time. 1st Degree Burglary, on the other hand, is a Class B Felony, and carries a prison sentence of up to 15 years. These charges will continue to haunt you, even after you’ve served your jailtime. Convicted felons have severely restricted access to public benefits and assistance and can lose their right to own a firearm. Plus, any future employer or school you wish to join will be able to find your record with a background check.
Getting in contact with a burglary lawyer is the first step you should take, and you should do so immediately to protect yourself. Your criminal record is something that follow you for the rest of your life, and so you’ll need someone who can help you and understands your situation.
A burglary lawyer can walk you through every step of the legal process, from managing evidence to presenting your case. That’s why, if you’re looking for a lawyer, you should contact us at the Law Office of Chris Miller. Our team of legal experts will handle your case with the diligence and compassion you deserve. Give us a call for a free, confidential consultation.