The definition of Burglary can be found in the Pennsylvania Crimes Code at 18 Pa.C.S. Sec. 3502. In Pennsylvania, Burglary is a felony of the first degree. Except, Burglary is a felony of the second degree when no person is present in the structure burglarized and the structure is not adopted for overnight accommodation.
The typical burglary we think of is a theft crime – someone breaks into your house to steal your personal belongings. However, in Pennsylvania you can be charged with burglary if you enter an occupied structure with the intent to commit any crime therein – Rape, Homicide, Arson, Simple Assault etc. Therefore, burglary is not solely a theft crime. It is also considered by the text books to be a “crime against property” or a “crime against the dwelling.”Burglary Charges can be Plead Down to Criminal Trespass!
The crime of Criminal trespass is found in the Pennsylvania crimes code at 18 Pa. C.S. Sec. 3503. Criminal trespass is a lesser included offense of burglary. If you are charged with burglary, it is important to hire an attorney that will persist to obtain a plea bargain to a Criminal trespass charge. Also, a good attorney can have Burglary dropped at the preliminary hearing. The Commonwealth is usually receptive to dropping a burglary charge in exchange for a waiver of the preliminary hearing and stipulating to a non–trial disposition. Although Criminal trespass is also a serious offense, as it is typically graded as a felony of the 2nd degree or a felony of the 3rd degree, Criminal trespass carries a lower offense gravity score than burglary and the sentence will be less serious. A plea to Criminal trespass for probation is usually a viable alternative to a burglary conviction which will likely carry jail time. Burglary has a high offense gravity score and a conviction to the charge will automatically catapult you to a sentencing guideline range which calls for jail time.
If you or someone you love is facing burglary charges, contact Jason R. Antoine, Pennsylvania Burglary defense lawyer. I have experience defending burglary cases in private practice and prosecuting burglary cases as a former Assistant District Attorney. Call my office to discuss your options or to schedule a free consultation.