Burglary Lawyers | Livingston Office
112 Marshall St., PO Box 907, Livingston, AL 35470-0907
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Burglary is a crime at both the federal and state level, and typically refers to an offense where an individual unlawfully, and without consent, enters a building with the intent to steal something inside.
Burglary can be differentiated from robbery, in a broad sense, by considering the elements common to each crime.
Robbery typically involves the direct theft of goods or property from a business or individual. Force, or a threat of force, can also be involved in the commission of a robbery. For example, if you steal a carton of cigarettes and other items from a convenience store while holding the clerk at gunpoint, you could be found guilty of robbery — and more specifically, armed robbery.
Burglary involves either breaking and entering, or simply unlawful entry, into a residence, place of business or other property. Further, burglary is typically done with the intent of avoiding all other human contact during the proceedings. Burglars may “stake out” their marks beforehand to determine times when the victim may be at work, or otherwise indisposed (and away from home).
Burglary can either be classified as a felony or as a misdemeanor depending both on the jurisdiction as well as the severity of the offense.
Burglary is uncommonly prosecuted at the federal level and is categorized as a felony if this is the case. These felonies almost always revolve around burglary concerning federal property and goods involved in interstate commerce.
State laws pertaining to burglary vary. In some states, burglary can be prosecuted as either first, second, third or fourth-degree offenses. Fourth-degree burglary, which is described as simply breaking into a property without a specific intent to commit further crimes, is a misdemeanor. By contrast, the other three degrees (escalating in intensity to first degree, which involves either intent to commit theft or intent to commit a violent crime) of burglary are all categorized as felony offenses. Simple possession of burglar’s tools that might be incidental of any other offense can be a misdemeanor.
The jail or prison sentences for those convicted of burglary range from state to state, and depend on the particulars of each individual offense.
Broadly speaking, misdemeanor charges of burglary can result in up to a year behind bars. Felony charges related to burglary are more common, and those convicted of felony burglary could face between five years imprisonment and a life sentence in the most egregious examples.
First-degree burglary charges in some states can lead to a life sentence, as well as a fine of up to $10,000, while in others, first-degree burglary is defined as a Class B felony. The punishment for being in violation of a Class B felony could mean a sentence ranging from five to 25 years in prison.
If you are facing burglary charges, you should consult an attorney. Not only can an experienced lawyer familiar with case law surrounding burglary and robbery offenses help to guide you from a strategic level, but your relationship also protects your privacy.
A criminal defense lawyer can be an asset especially if you are facing the prospect of going to trial. In some cases, a plea deal or negotiation can be struck to reduce your potential punishment which could mean avoiding prison entirely.
A conviction on burglary charges, felony or misdemeanor, can result in a permanent criminal record. By retaining proper legal counsel, you may be able to increase the likelihood of a legal victory.
If you are charged with burglary you need a defense lawyer who handles burglary cases to represent you. He or she will advise you of your options and form a defense, and may even advise that you allow them to negotiate a plea bargain on your behalf.
No matter what your legal issue may be, it is always best to seek legal help early in the process. An attorney can help secure what is likely to be the best possible outcome for your situation and avoid both unnecessary complications or errors.
Prepare for your consultation by writing down notes of your understanding of the case, jot down questions and concerns for the attorney, and gather your documents. Remember that you are trying to get a sense of whether the attorney has your trust and can help you address your legal issues. Questions should include how the attorney intends to resolve your issue, how many years he/she has been practicing law and specifically practicing in your area, as well as how many cases similar to yours the attorney has handled. It can also be helpful to broach the subject of fees so that you understand the likely cost and structure of your representation by a specific attorney and/or legal team.
Personal jurisdiction – Requirement that a particular court have authority over a person, in order to bind that person to the judgment of the court, based on minimum contacts. International Shoe Co v. Washington is a landmark Supreme Court case outlining the scope of a state court’s reach in personal jurisdiction.