DC Burglary Penalties

Generally, burglary exists when a person enters the dwelling or other building belonging to another person with the intent to commit a crime that is separate from unlawfully entering the property. In other words, the person must have the intent while entering a dwelling or building to commit a different crime separate from burglary once they get inside the building.

When this offense is alleged, a DC burglary lawyer can act as a person’s advocate in fighting the charges against them. A lawyer can listen to the events from the person’s perspective and help develop their defense. To learn more or discuss your case, call and schedule a consultation today.

Elements of Burglary

The government must prove different elements depending on whether the burglary is charged as a first degree burglary or secondary burglary. To prove a first degree burglary, the government is required to prove that the person entered the dwelling of another or a room that is used for sleeping. At the time the person entered, the government must prove that the person intended to commit a crime and that the dwelling or room was occupied by another person.

To prove second degree burglary, the government must prove the person entered a dwelling or a building of another person and at the time the person entered, they had the intent to commit a crime.

All of the elements must be proved beyond reasonable doubt to sustain a burglary conviction.

Degrees of Burlgary

In DC, there is first degree burglary and second degree burglary. A burglary is considered first degree if the structure that is broken into is presently being occupied by a person and is a dwelling or a room that is used for sleeping. The mandatory minimum penalty is five years in jail for first degree burglary and the maximum penalty is 30 years in prison and a $75,000 fine.

There is also a mandatory minimum penalty for second degree burglary, which is two years in prison and a maximum penalty of 15 years and a $37,500 fine.

Aggravating Factors

Since burglary is considered to be a crime of violence, if the burglary was committed by a person who is armed with a firearm or other dangerous weapon, that person faces a mandatory minimum term of five years in prison, possibly up to 30 years, in addition to the penalty for the burglary.

For example, in a scenario where a person has a gun in his jacket when he enters someone’s home with the intention of stealing items in the home, that person faces an additional penalty of at least five years and up to 30 years for being armed while committing a burglary.

Importance of Legal Representation

It’s very important to hire a local DC burglary lawyer who is familiar with how burglary cases are investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department and prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office.

It is also advantageous to have a lawyer who has established a rapport and is in regular contact with local detectives and prosecutors. The lawyer then will be in the best position to advocate on a person’s behalf and work to get the best possible outcome to their case.