Burglary Lawyers | Georgetown Office | Serving Rehoboth Beach, DE
26 The Circle, PO Box 250, Georgetown, DE 19947
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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.
An attorney can often resolve your particular legal issue faster and better than trying to do it alone. A lawyer can help you navigate the legal system, while avoiding costly mistakes or procedural errors. You should seek out an attorney whose practice focuses on the area of law most relevant to your issue.
Bill by the hour: Many attorneys bill by the hour. How much an attorney bills you per hour will vary based on a number of factors. For instance, an attorney’s hourly fee may fluctuate based on whether that hour is spent representing you in court or doing research on your case. Attorneys in one practice area may bill you more than attorneys in a different practice area.
Contingent fee: Some lawyers will accept payment via contingent fee. In this arrangement, the lawyer receives a percentage of the total monetary recovery if you win your lawsuit. In sum, the lawyer only gets paid if you win. Contingent fee agreements are limited to specific practice areas in civil law.
Flat fee: For “routine” legal work where the attorney generally knows the amount of time and resources necessary to complete the task, he/she may be willing to bill you a flat fee for services performed.
Pro se – This Latin term refers to representing yourself in court instead of hiring professional legal counsel. Pro se representation can occur in either criminal or civil cases.
Statute – Refers to a law created by a legislative body. For example, the laws enacted by Congress are statutes.
Subject matter jurisdiction – Requirement that a particular court have authority to hear the claim based on the specific type of issue brought to the court. For example, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court only has subject matter jurisdiction over bankruptcy filings, therefore it does not have the authority to render binding judgment over other types of cases, such as divorce.