DC Burglary Attorney

Burglary is where a person enters into a house, structure or building that belongs to another person, intending to commit a crime once they are inside. This offense carries very serious penalties and as a result if an individual is charged with burglary, or is aware they are being investigated for burglary, they should seek the help of a DC burglary lawyer immediately.

Burglaries are felony offenses and a theft lawyer in DC will be able to guide an individual through the whole process while also preparing their case for trial and any pre-trial hearings.

How Burglary Charges Are Treated

Prosecutors in D.C. pursue burglary cases very aggressively. The act of entering someone else’s house coupled with the intention to commit a crime in that home is viewed as serious criminal conduct. In an effort to prevent this type of crime in the future, the government forcefully prosecutes burglaries.

Difference Between Burglary and Trespassing

The major distinction between burglary and trespass in D.C. is the intention that exists during a burglary to commit a crime once inside the house or building. In D.C., the crime of trespass, more commonly referred to as unlawful entry, only requires proof that a person entered a private or public building without permission and against the lawful occupant’s will.

The entry alone, provided that it was without permission, constitutes the crime of unlawful entry. To prove a burglary, there must also be an intention of the person entering the house or structure to commit a separate crime once inside.

Washington, DC Burglary Laws

DC Code Section 22-801 defines the offense of burglary and establishes potential penalties associated with conviction for this crime.  There are two different categories of burglary: burglary in the first degree and burglary in the second degree.

Burglary in the first degree is defined in Code Section 22-801(a). The government must prove the following to convict you:

  • You entered a dwelling, either through force or without the permission of the person who occupies the dwelling.
  • You entered with the intention of committing any criminal offense inside or with the intention of carrying away a part of the building, a fixture, or anything attached or connected to the building.
  • The dwelling was occupied at the time of entry.

Burglary in the second degree is defined in Code Section 22-801(b). In order to convict you, the government must prove:

  • You enter into a dwelling, store, bank, warehouse, stable, apartment, shop, room, steamboat, vessel, or any other building or location where goods are stored.
  • You enter with the intention to commit any criminal offense inside or with the intention of carrying away any fixture, part of the building, or thing connected with the area.

If you are charged with burglary in the first degree, you face 5 to 30 years incarceration if convicted. If you are charged with burglary in the second degree, you face between 2 and 15 years incarceration if convicted. These severe consequences make it even more important that you contact a DC burglary lawyer as soon as possible.

Benefit of a DC Burglary Lawyer

It is always helpful for an individual to have a DC burglary attorney by their side if they are facing burglary charges or being investigated for burglary. Burglary is pursued aggressively by prosecutors and seen as very dangerous by the public. It is important for an individual to know their rights during the criminal process and have their lawyer start to work on their defense early on.

The sooner a lawyer becomes familiar with a case, the sooner he or she will be able to discuss possible defenses, begin negotiations with the government, and start preparing for a trial.

To learn more about possible defenses and other options for responding to charges, contact a DC burglary lawyer today.