Summerville Burglary Lawyer

A charge of burglary is incredibly serious and can have long-term effects on your life. Breaking into a building or dwelling in order to commit a crime is treated very harshly by prosecutors and judges. State law imposes harsh penalties on those convicted of this offense. Defenses are typically available to these charges that may help reduce or prevent these penalties being imposed against you.

With the help of an experienced Summerville burglary lawyer, your case can be analyzed for the appropriate defense plan. Let a skilled defense attorney help protect your rights.

What is Burglary?

Under South Carolina law, burglary occurs when a person enters a building or dwelling of another, without consent, and with the intent to commit some crime in that structure. A state prosecutor is required to prove all of the elements of this crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a very high standard for prosecutors to meet, and a successful defense may prevent the prosecutor from proving their case.

Defining Elements of the Offense

In order for a person to “enter,” the prosecutor must prove that the alleged offender actually crossed the plane of the structure and went in without the owner’s consent to do so. In some cases, a person with permission to enter can still violate this section if they engage in conduct that is beyond the permission they were given.

Another important element a prosecutor must prove is the “criminal intent” the defendant allegedly had when committing the offense. This criminal intent can be to commit a theft or some other offense.

For certain divisions of the burglary statute, entering a person’s “dwelling” is important. A dwelling is defined as a house, apartment, outhouse, erection, building, shed, or box where a person sleeps or a structure within 200 yards of that structure. This simplified definition can be a crucial element the prosecutor has to prove, and failure to do so may result in reduced charges.

Degrees of Burglary and Penalties

State law separates burglary into separate sections depending on the facts of the unique situation. Each of these categories carries separate penalties, and some are more severe than others.

  • First Degree Burglary: The most serious form of burglary is punishable by a term of life in prison, but a judge can sentence the defendant to a term of not less than fifteen years.
  • Second Degree Burglary (Violent): A violent second degree burglary charge is punishable by a prison term not to exceed fifteen years.
  • Second Degree Burglary (Non-violent): A term of not more than ten years is possible with this charge.
  • Third Degree Burglary: A third degree burglary charge is punishable by not more than five years for a first offense and not more than ten years after a second offense.

Even in its least serious variation, a burglary charge carries harsh penalties. Not only will a convicted defendant face years in prison, but they will also face the difficulties associated with being labeled a “felon.” Felony convictions deprive defendants of certain constitutional rights, and make it incredibly difficult to find and maintain future employment.

Talk to a Summerville Burglary Attorney Today

Prosecutors must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt in order to get a conviction. A strong defense may prevent a conviction, or result in a lesser charge. It is crucial that you make every effort to defend your case in court with the help of a knowledgeable attorney.

An experienced Summerville burglary lawyer can help you defend your case. Contact us today for help.