Burglary is one of the most serious property crimes; however, some burglaries are much more serious than others. That said, because burglary is a theft crime, a burglary conviction can wreak havoc on your criminal record, making it harder to get a job, go back to school, or obtain a professional license or certification. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, our Phoenix criminal defense attorney has more than 25 years of hands-on experience representing clients facing burglary charges. Attorney Novak takes a unique approach to every case he handles, ensuring he does everything possible to reach the best possible result for his clients.What Is Burglary in Arizona?
Under Arizona law, burglary is defined as entering another’s property with the intent to commit a felony. Like robbery, burglary is considered a property crime, although it can also be a violent crime depending on the circumstances.How Serious Is a Burglary Charge?
Burglary offenses are always considered a felony; however, Arizona divides burglaries into three groups or degrees:Burglary in the Third Degree (A.R.S. §13-1506)
Burglary in the third degree involves entering or unlawfully remaining in another’s non-residential property or fenced yard with the intent to commit a felony while on the property. Third degree burglary also includes entering a vehicle by using a “manipulation key or master key” with the intent to commit a felony while in the vehicle.
Burglary in the third degree is a class 4 felony, which carries a presumptive term of 2.5 years imprisonment.Burglary in the Second Degree (A.R.S. §13-1507)
Burglary in the second degree involves entering or unlawfully remaining in a residential structure belonging to another person with the intent to commit any felony therein. Arizona Revised Statutes defines a residential structure as “any structure, movable or immovable, permanent or temporary, that is adapted for both human residence and lodging whether occupied or not.” Thus, the burglary of a home is a second-degree burglary regardless of whether someone was home at the time or even if the house was abandoned.
Burglary in the second degree is a class 3 felony, punishable by a presumptive 3.5 years in prison.Burglary in the First Degree (A.R.S. §13-1508)
Burglary in the first degree is the most serious burglary offense and involves committing any burglary while using “explosives, a deadly weapon, or a dangerous instrument” in the course of committing any theft or any felony. Note that this is the only burglary offense that doesn’t necessarily require the commission of a felony.
First degree burglary is a class 3 felony if the property was a non-residential structure or a fenced yard. However, if the burglarized location was a residential home, the crime is graded as a class 2 felony, which carries a presumptive term of five years in prison.Related Offenses to Burglary
When deciding which crimes to charge someone with after they’ve been arrested for burglary, Prosecutors will often charge several offenses and let the jury decide which, if any, are appropriate. For example, prosecutors may charge one or more burglary offenses as well as any of the following:Possession of Burglary Tools (A.R.S. § 13-1505)
Possession of burglary tools is defined as possessing any explosive, tool or other object that is commonly used to commit a burglary, with the intent to use the object to commit a burglary. Possession of burglary tools is a class 6 felony.Criminal Trespass (A.R.S. §§ 13-1502, 13-1503, 3-1504)
Criminal trespass is essentially the same thing as a burglary without the “intent to commit a felony” element. In other words, someone commits criminal trespass when they knowingly enter or unlawfully remain on another’s property. Criminal trespass can be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the type of property involved.Are You Facing Burglary Charges?
If you were recently arrested and charged with burglary, it is imperative that you speak with a Phoenix criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, we have extensive experience handling all types of burglary cases and know which defenses are the most likely to succeed. As a skilled negotiator, Attorney Novak is often able to successfully convince the prosecution to significantly reduce the charges his clients face. However, as a seasoned litigator, he is equally comfortable explaining to the jury why “Not Guilty” is the only just verdict. To learn more, and to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, call 480-413-1499 today. You can also reach out through our online contact form.