Burglary charges are different than other theft charges, because to be convicted of this crime, the prosecutor has to prove intent to commit a crime that may or may not have happened. It isn’t enough to just unlawfully break and enter into somebody else’s property or residence. There has to be criminal intent involved to commit an additional crime. In the most basic terms, a burglary occurs when somebody unlawfully enters another person’s property with the intent to commit another specific crime. Whether that crime actually happens or not is irrelevant, if the prosecutor can prove intent.
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Unlawful Entry with Intent
It isn’t just about entering into somebody’s property unlawfully. That alone could just be considered breaking and entering or trespassing under certain circumstances. This crime involves unlawful entry combined with intent. Traditionally, we think of ‘burglars’ as thieves, but a variety of crimes can be included with this type of charge. Prosecutors may try to prove that there was intent to steal, commit murder, commit sexual assault or do some other type of crime.
Residential burglary is one of the more common types of burglaries we see in and around the Jackson area. This type of burglary involves breaking into somebody’s residential property, or home, with the intent to commit a certain crime. Whether that particular crime happens or not may be irrelevant to the case, in the prosecutor’s eyes. It’s also quite common to see burglaries involving stores and other businesses. Typically, these types of burglaries involve theft charges or the intent to steal certain items.
Was a Firearm Involved?
As with most crimes, if a firearm was involved in the burglary, your case is going to be more complicated. Additionally, you could be facing lengthy prison sentences, if convicted. Getting in touch with an experienced and proven criminal defense attorney needs to be your first priority after a burglary arrest, especially if a firearm was involved. You could be looking at multiple felony charges carrying lengthy prison sentences and expensive fines.
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What if You Didn’t Steal Anything?
You might be surprised to learn that you don’t actually have to steal anything to be charged with burglary. If the prosecutor can prove that you intended to steal something, that’s enough. Luckily, it can be pretty difficult to prove intent when a particular crime never came to fruition. It’s not uncommon to have a change of heart, halfway through the crime too. Additionally, getting actual evidence of intent isn’t as cut and dry as you might think. This is where your defense attorney can be a real asset.
Depending upon the circumstances of your case, you could be facing a variety of additional charges. Was somebody injured in the commission of the crime? Was there a firearm involved? What was the other crime or the intended crime? The severity of the intended crime will also have an impact on charges faced and potential penalties. At the very least, you could be facing just over one year in prison for a felony crime. With additional charges, you could be facing 10, 20 or life.
Intent to Commit the Crime
Unlike a lot of other more traditional crimes, the intent involved is what sets burglary apart from the rest. You might be asking yourself, “how does the prosecutor know what my intent was, or how does he or she know what may or may not have been a thought in my mind?” These are good questions, and your defense attorney will make sure your innocence is at the forefront every step of the way. The prosecutor will have to prove that you intended to commit a certain crime once the unlawful entry happened. Your defense lawyer will be working with an ultimate goal to have your case completely thrown out of court. Intent is a tricky legal concept. Let an experienced defense lawyer handle your case.
How to Choose the Best Criminal Defense Lawyer
When it comes to choosing a defense attorney, you need to go with experience. It may be tempting to go with the ‘if you cannot afford a lawyer’ lawyer, but this could be a huge mistake. While public defenders are certainly hardworking, highly professional individuals, they simply do not have the time and resources to dedicate to their clients’ freedom. When you choose to hire a criminal defense attorney, you can pick the one with proven results.
The team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC has the proven experience to successfully represent you in court. When your life and your freedom are on the line, you need to go with a lawyer who has real-life criminal case experience. Contact the skilled team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (601) 265-7766 for a consultation today.