No matter where you are, a burglary conviction can change your life. But the laws in Pennsylvania are particularly severe when it comes to crimes of this type. Not only are you looking at being labeled a convicted felon, you are facing possibly decades in prison.
Burglary is, in essence, two distinct crimes in one. Not only are you accused of entering property that you had no right to be on, you are also accused of entering that property with the intent of committing another criminal offense. This sort of two-in-one criminal charge is treated very seriously in the courts.
Pennsylvania Burglary Laws
The criminal laws of Pennsylvania are complex. While this page is designed to provide you with an overview of your charges and potential penalties, discussing your case with a local defense lawyer is the best way to know for certain what you are up against.
Under Pennsylvania law, burglary is defined as: entering a building or occupied structure or secured area, with the intent of committing a crime.
If you have a right to be on the property, burglary charges do not apply. If this is the case and you are faced with accusations of burglary, your attorney can help sort things out. Similarly, if the property was legitimately abandoned, your attorney may be able to help you get the charges dropped.
If the property is not a home or dwelling and as long as no one else is present at the time of the alleged crime, you will face 2nd degree felony charges. A 2nd degree felony carries a potential 10 years in prison.
If, however, the property was a dwelling or if someone was present at the time, you will face much more serious 1st degree felony charges. A felony in the first degree carries a potential 20 year prison sentence.
In addition, if the crime you intended on committing was itself a first or second degree felony, you can be charged separately for the commission or attempted commission of that crime. This means that you will not only face charges of burglary and the sentence it carries but the charge for the additional crime and its potential sentence.
The crime of burglary carries stiff penalties and lifelong repercussions if you are convicted. A local defense lawyer may be able to help you minimize the effects of these charges on your life. Let us put you in contact with a Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney today.