Massachusetts is home to some severe mandatory minimum criminal sentences. If you are convicted of burglary here, you will likely be doing some time. Knowing what you are up against can help you plan your defense, but it can also put you under a significant amount of stress.
Whether you acted alone and admit you made a serious mistake, or if you were just “along for the ride” and are confused about why you are facing charges, a defense lawyer may be able to help you make sense of things.
There are several laws in the Massachusetts criminal code that cover the crime of burglary. Though these laws can seem confusing, they have something in common—lengthy terms of incarceration.
Massachusetts Burglary Laws and Penalties
In general, burglary is defined as: breaking and entering a home in the night with the intent of committing a felony like larceny. It’s important to note that you do not have to succeed at committing a felony in order for this charge to stick, merely intending to commit a felony is enough.
Also, breaking and entering does not mean you have to kick a door down or shatter a window. If you cross unlawfully into a dwelling, you have satisfied the requirement for breaking and entering.
Burglary is a felony and carries up to 20 years in prison. If this isn’t your first offense, however, you will face a mandatory minimum sentence of at least 5 years.
If you are accused of burglarizing a home that is occupied, you will most certainly be faced with a possible mandatory minimum sentence. If you have a weapon in your possession at the time, you will face at least 15 years in prison for a first offense.
Burglary with Assault
If you assault someone in the commission of the burglary, whether or not you have a weapon, you will face a mandatory minimum 10 years in prison. An assault doesn’t mean you have to harm someone, merely putting them in fear of harm will suffice.
Prior convictions for burglary will only increase your penalties and prevent you from being able to serve probation instead of incarceration.
As you can see, burglary offenses in Massachusetts carry stiff penalties. While no attorney can guarantee results, they can offer to work tirelessly to obtain the best results possible on your case.