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What are some potential defenses to burglary charges?

On Behalf of | May 12, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

You entered a home or business without permission – and now you’re facing burglary charges.

Being accused of burglary can be a stressful and overwhelming experience, but it’s important to remember that you have the right to a defense, and your situation may have a reasonable explanation.

What is burglary?

Typically, burglary is defined as unlawfully and knowingly entering a dwelling place that doesn’t belong to you with the intent to commit a crime. The defenses, then, often center on your mindset at the time. 

Potential defenses include: 

  • You entered the place lawfully – or thought you did. This could happen, for example, if you had someone’s key and didn’t know that they’d revoked your right to use it, or there was a lack of notice that you were now prohibited from entering a public place, like a bar.
  • You entered under duress or coercion. For example, if someone intimidated you with threats of physical harm into entering the building and doing as they directed, you should not be held liable.
  • Your actions were due to a mental disease or defect. For example, if you were suffering from confusion and mistook someone else’s home as yours, you may not have been capable of the mindset necessary to be guilty of burglary. 
  • You lacked any intent to steal or commit another crime. Perhaps you saw an open door and you were worried someone was in trouble, so you wandered inside to make sure nobody needed help and scared the owner – but that doesn’t equate to burglary.

The presumption of innocence is your absolute right under the law until you are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. That burden of that proof lies with the prosecution – not you – so you have a right to explore all potential defenses.