Burglary Defense Lawyers

Portner & Shure Law Firm Serving Maryland, Virginia & Washington D.C.

Virginia criminal defense lawyer

Burglary offenses are broken up into four statutes: first degree, second degree, third degree, and fourth degree burglary. Maryland’s burglary laws often refer to "breaking and entering." The burglary statutes do not require that the defendant physically enter the home or building, just that the defendant crossed into a secure threshold into any area that you have no lawful right to be in.

Differences Between Various Degrees of Burglary

First degree burglary is breaking and entering another’s dwelling with the intent to steal or commit a crime of violence. Actual breaking is making or enlarging a hole in a dwelling, such as breaking a window or pushing a door open further. Constructive breaking is when force, threat of force, fraud, or trickery is used. Entering means any part of the body or any instrument crossing the secure boundary of a home or building, as long as it is used to commit a felony (i.e. coat hanger used to retrieve goods, but not merely to gain entry). Dwelling refers to realty where people regularly sleep. For example, an unoccupied summer home or an unoccupied apartment between rentals is still dwellings. First-degree burglary is a felony that carries up to 20 years in prison.

Second degree burglary is breaking and entering another’s building or storehouse with the intent to steal or commit a crime of violence or arson. Building includes watercraft, barn, stable, pier, wharf, storeroom, warehouse, public building, trailer, aircraft, vessel, schoolhouse, supermarket, church, but not a vehicle or tent. Second-degree burglary is a felony with a 20 year prison sentence maximum.

Third degree burglary is breaking and entering the dwelling of another with the intent of committing any crime. This is also a felony charge with a 10-year prison sentence maximum.

Fourth degree burglary is breaking and entering a dwelling, storehouse, or yard of another with the intent to steal. This statute includes if you are caught in possession of burglar tools and intend to commit burglary. Fourth-degree burglary is a misdemeanor and carries up to 3 years in prison.

Schedule a consultation with experienced criminal defense lawyers at Portner & Shure by completing the form on this page or calling us in Maryland at (410) 995-1515 or (301) 854-9000, in Virginia at (703) 916-1227 or in Washington, D.C. at (202) 554-1449 today.