ROBBERY & BURGLARY DEFENSE LAWYERS IN FREDERICK, MARYLAND
Protecting You from a Damaging Criminal Record
We are sure you know that a burglary or robbery conviction carries substantial penalties that can change your life forever. That is why you have come to our law firm in search of reliable legal assistance. Portner & Shure, P.A., and our Frederick robbery attorneys can aggressively defend you and protect you against the potential repercussions of a theft crime conviction.
Call (240) 770-0509 right now to begin your defense.
Maryland Burglary Law
Burglary is a serious criminal offense in Maryland and a burglary conviction carries heavy penalties. Burglary is sometimes referred to as trespassing, housebreaking, or breaking and entering (“B&E”) depending on other elements or crimes carried out while the suspect is burglarizing a location.
Unique factors that comprise a felony burglary charge are:
- In the nighttime;
- Dwelling house of another;
- Intent to commit a felony once inside.
In summary, a “burglar” is someone who breaks part of someone else’s house during the night and then enters it with the intent to commit another felony, such as assault or robbery.
Burglary is codified into four separate offenses under Maryland law, including:
- First-Degree Burglary: Involves the illegal breaking and entering into another person’s dwelling with the purpose or intent to commit theft. The penalty for first-degree burglary is up to 20 years in prison, but this can spike up to 25 years in prison if the crime involves breaking and entering into a dwelling with the intent to commit a crime of violence (i.e., felony home invasion).
- Second-Degree Burglary: Involves the illegal breaking and entering into a storehouse with the intent to commit theft, violence, or arson. Typically, a storehouse means any building, like a factory, shop, educational facility, specialized institution, or commercial office space, but it can also include vehicles, including a train, car, helicopter, hovercraft, or military Jeep. This felony is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. If the felony involves breaking and entering into a storehouse with the intent to steal a firearm, it is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Third-Degree Burglary: Involves the illegal breaking and entering into an individual’s dwelling with the intention of committing any crime. A dwelling can be defined as anywhere someone calls home or resides with their family, such as a house, apartment, condo, yurt, or shared living space. The maximum penalty for this criminal offense is 10 years in prison.
- Fourth-Degree Burglary: Involves the illegal breaking and entering into an individual’s dwelling or storehouse with the intent to commit a misdemeanor theft crime. The maximum penalty for fourth-degree burglary is 3 years in prison.
There are also several specialized criminal statutes related to burglary, such as:
- Possessing Burglar’s Tools: Misdemeanor crime punishable by up to 3 years in prison.
- Burglary with Destructive Device: Felony crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
- Breaking into a Research Facility: Felony crime punishable by up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
Contact us online or call (240) 770-0509 today for a free and confidential consultation.
Robbery Law in Maryland
Robbery is often considered the most serious form of theft. While robbery and burglary are somewhat similar crimes, robbery does not necessarily involve a dwelling or storehouse. In Maryland, robbery is defined as the felonious taking and carrying away of the personal property of another from his person by the use of violence or by the threat of violence.
Robbery is also defined as larceny from the person of another by violence or by putting in fear. It is considered “compound larceny” if the crime also involved assault or battery against the victim.
The offense of robbery retains its common law definition, however, its penalty is defined by the Maryland statute. Maryland Code § 3-402 assigns a maximum penalty of 15 years of imprisonment for such a charge.
The crime of robbery in Maryland involves:
- The taking and carrying away;
Of something (property or services);
- Note: The amount of money taken from a victim is not an essential element of the offense, as long as something “of value” is taken.
- From a person or in the person’s presence;
- Through force or threat of force; and
Intent to withhold the property of another:
- For a period that results in the appropriation of a part of the property’s value.
- With the purpose of restoring the property only upon payment of a reward or other compensation.
- Or to dispose of the property or use or deal with the property in a manner that makes it unlikely that the owner will recover it.
Armed Robbery Charges
In Maryland, the crime of armed robbery, or using a dangerous weapon in the course of a robbery, is a distinct offense separate from other forms of robbery. Under Maryland statute, a person who commits robbery with a dangerous weapon or by displaying a written instrument claiming that the person has possession of a dangerous weapon can be charged with a felony. Upon conviction, the defendant may face imprisonment for up to 20 years.
Our experienced Frederick robbery defense attorneys can work with you to try and obtain evidence that an essential element of the crime is missing. When a single component of a crime’s definition is missing, the entire charge can become invalid and the case must be dismissed.
Trespassing Laws in Maryland
It is illegal to be on the property of another person without permission or after being instructed to leave, regardless of your intent to commit a crime. Given the many actions that can be deemed a trespass, an experienced Frederick trespass defense lawyer can help you to navigate your case if you are accused of trespassing.
Trespassing can be defined as the following:
- Wanton trespass upon private property;
- Willfully and maliciously destroying, injuring, or defacing the real or personal property of another;
- Refusal or failure to leave public buildings or grounds;
- Trespass on the property of a public school (elementary, secondary, or higher education);
- Interference with access to or egress from a medical facility;
- Trespass on a railroad’s property;
- Visual surveillance in a private place;
- Camera surveillance; or
- Visual surveillance with prurient intent.
If convicted of trespass, the penalties in Maryland range between 90 days in jail and 2 years in prison. However, you can fight these penalties with the help of our experienced Frederick trespass attorneys who can evaluate your potential defenses and advocate on your behalf.
For example, in a prosecution for criminal trespass, it is an affirmative defense if the accused reasonably believed that the owner of the property would have licensed them to enter. Consequently, an accused is not culpable if their belief is reasonable (i.e., not reckless or negligent) and a conviction should not be reached.
Defenses to Burglary & Robbery Charges
In cases involving burglary or robbery offenses, the State has the burden of proving the facts necessary to constitute the crime. An experienced Frederick burglary and robbery attorney from Portner & Shure, P.A. can force the state to meet its burden and to prove all elements of the criminal charge beyond a reasonable doubt. When the evidence brought forth by the prosecution is weak, this burden might be too much to overcome, and your victory could be secured.
The potential defenses to a burglary charge vary based on the facts of the situation and the evidence that the state intends to put forward at trial. For example, it may be appropriate to argue that the accused lacked the requisite intent, had been authorized to enter the property, or had a physical incapacity that would make it unlikely to be able to complete a robbery or burglary. A critical review of the evidence in your specific case is necessary to identify any potential defenses. This thorough review may reveal that the state lacks sufficient evidence to prove the required elements of the crime. If that is the case, the state may pursue a conviction for a lesser offense or dismiss the case overall.
Real Attorneys Providing Real Value
Our highly experienced Frederick robbery, burglary, and trespass defense attorneys at Portner & Shure, P.A. have represented countless clients throughout our decades of practice. We have cemented our reputation in the legal community as lawyers that people can trust when in difficult situations. In 2020, the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys recognized Portner & Shure, P.A. as one of Maryland’s “10 Best Law Firms.” In addition to being recognized within the legal community, we consistently receive excellent reviews from our prior clients.
To schedule a complimentary case evaluation, call our office at (240) 770-0509 or submit an online contact form.
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