Maryland Burglary Lawyer

Being charged with forcibly entering another person’s property may have serious consequences for a person in the state of Maryland. Due to the potentially violent and intrusive nature of the offense, prosecutors may throw the book at an accused individual. If you are facing criminal allegations of breaking and entering, you may benefit from speaking to a Maryland burglary lawyer. An experienced theft attorney could champion your case and may be able to build a defense on your behalf.

What Constitutes Burglary

As defined by Maryland law, there are different degrees of burglary. These are the first, second, third, and fourth degrees of burglary. The basics of burglary are typically what people consider breaking and entering. Burglary carries significant penalties, which is why it is crucial for defendants to obtain a seasoned burglary lawyer in Maryland.

Burglary in the Fourth-Degree

A person may commit fourth-degree burglary by entering the home, dwelling, storehouse, or property of another forcibly and without permission. Burglary in the fourth degree is the least serious.

Burglary in the Third-Degree

Burglary in the third and fourth-degree are mostly similar. The main difference between the two crimes is a person committing third-degree burglary typically has the added intent to commit a crime. For fourth-degree burglary, breaking and entering is enough to suffice burglary as a misdemeanor. Burglary in the third degree is considered a felony because there is the extra element that the person committing a crime.

Burglary in the Second-Degree

Burglary in the second degree is more serious. While it may be similar to third-degree burglary due to the aspect of breaking and entering, there is intent to commit theft, violence, or arson in lieu of the intent to commit a crime. Burglary in the third degree is more serious than burglary in the second degree.

Burglary in the First-Degree

Being the most serious charge of the four, first-degree burglary may be similar to second-degree burglary but requires a person to break and enter into the dwelling or the home of another person with the intent to commit serious violence or a serious theft.

How Prosecutors May Try the Offense

The prosecution typically treats burglary charges in Maryland seriously and might not allow the offense to slip through the cracks. Even a fourth-degree burglary, which is considered a crime against a person’s property, is an offense that may be considered serious and intimate violence if the defendant allegedly broke into someone’s home. A Maryland burglary lawyer could help an accused person understand how prosecutors may try their burglary case and could prepare them for it.

Elements of the Crime the Prosecution May Need to Prove

The elements of the crime the prosecution must prove in Maryland burglary cases may vary depending on what degree of burglary a person is charged with. Authorities may look into potential breaking and entering into the dwelling of another or the storehouse of another that may have taken place. A storehouse could be a business, a detached garage, or a shed in somebody’s backyard.

There may be a number of specific examples that could satisfy the element of breaking and entering. Breaking could be any physical act of opening an unlocked door, pushing open a door that is ajar, or opening an unlatched window. It may also be breaking down a locked door or breaking through a locked window. The act typically does not have to be destructive or damaging. It could also be a physical act that is taken to enter a dwelling or a storehouse.

Differentiating Between Burglary and Trespassing

As a Maryland burglary lawyer could explain, the difference between burglary and trespassing is the “breaking” element. In Maryland, trespassing is considered being present on a property without permission. If a person was asked to leave,  the property posted a “no trespassing” sign, or the person was previously banned from the property and knows they are not allowed on that property, they may be considered trespassers by the property owners and authorities.

There is no requirement that the person breaks and enters the property. A person could walk into somebody’s yard or into a business. If they have been previously denied entry or been asked to leave or if the property has conspicuous “no trespassing” signs, a person could be found guilty of trespassing but not a burglary since there was no breaking or other physical act taken to enter the property.


Burglary requires breaking and entering. A defendant must have committed some physical act to enter the property, whether it is smashing through a window, busting down a door, or pulling up a garage door that is unlocked. That is what authorities may look for when distinguishing burglary from trespassing.

What Happens if a Defendant Causes Damage to a Person’s Property?

If an attempted burglary causes damage to a person’s property, the person could be charged with attempted burglary or with malicious destruction of property, which is a separate charge for committing an act that damages or destroys property either intentionally or recklessly. Even if a person may have been intending to only commit the burglary and not trying to damage the property, the attempted criminal act could satisfy the intent element for malicious destruction of property. Even if it is accidental, if it is committed during an attempted criminal act like an attempted burglary, the person may be charged with malicious destruction of property, which is a separate count. A burglary lawyer could examine the evidence Maryland prosecutors may use against a person and dispute their assertions about the damage the defendant allegedly caused.

How a Maryland Burglary Attorney Could Help

A person charged with burglary should consider hiring a Maryland burglary lawyer due to the serious nature of the alleged crime. It could carry criminal potential penalties upon a conviction which may include the possibility of jail, a prison sentence, or a period of probation. There may also be fines and costs or restitution that the person must pay. A conviction could go on a person’s record and may follow them for the rest of their life. It could harm them in trying to gain employment, housing, and professional licenses.

Once one is charged with burglary, a conviction may be a real possibility. A defendant in Maryland may benefit from consulting an experienced burglary lawyer to help them get the best possible outcome. an attorney could work towards obtaining a dismissal, having the case placed under diversion docket that eventually may result in a dismissal, or negotiating for the best possible sentence. While the outcome of every case depends on the details of its specific, an attorney could help you avoid what may be serious consequences.