Burglary Charges in Missouri
Burglary is sometimes known as “breaking and entering.” It occurs when someone breaks into a home to commit a crime. While this is often associated with stealing, a person could be arrested for burglary for entering a domicile or building to commit any crime. This is a serious felony that can lead to years in prison for the convicted.
When examining your burglary charge, the St. Louis criminal defense attorney will look at several factors, including:
- Whether anyone was home
- Whether a dangerous weapon was used
- Whether there were any threats of harm
The presence or lack of these elements will impact whether you are charged with First Degree Burglary or Second Degree Burglary. This is the difference between a Class B felony and a Class C felony. Regardless of which you are charged with, both crimes carry significant penalties and require the attention of a St. Louis criminal defense attorney immediately.
It is also a crime to carry burglar’s tools. If you are found in possession of tools that can be used in commission of a burglary and police believe you or someone else has used or is going to use these tools in a burglary, you can face a Class D felony. Obviously, this is a very ambiguous charge and some tools used for robbery also have legitimate uses. Things like bolt cutters and crowbars are used in some lines of work daily without any nefarious purpose. If you have been charged with possession of burglary tools in Missouri, a St. Louis criminal defense attorney will aggressively fight these charges and work to keep you out of jail.
First Degree Burglary in Missouri
If a person knowingly enters a building for the purpose of committing a crime and is armed with a weapon or explosive device and/or the building is occupied, that person has committed Burglary in the First Degree, R.S.Mo. 595.160. This is a Class B felony and can result in up to 15 years in jail with a conviction.
The popular image of this type of crime is of the cat burglar sneaking in at night while the family is asleep upstairs. Because the family is present during this crime, it elevates the crime to a first degree burglary. A person does not need to be aware that the family is home, however. If, for instance, a person breaks into a home thinking everyone is at work but one of the residents has stayed home sick, it is still burglary in the first degree.
Likewise, if a person has a weapon on them and they are caught burglarizing a home, it is first degree burglary whether or not the weapon was brandished or used. If a neighbor sees someone breaking into a home and calls the police and the police find a knife on the alleged burglar, that weapon make the charge significantly more serious than without it.
A burglary in the first degree is a serious charge that requires the expertise of an experienced St. Louis criminal defense attorney. Richard R. Lozano has been helping clients charged with serious crimes since 1994. He understands how stressful and frightening this experience is and he will help you through it. With knowledgeable assistance, you can get the best outcome possible for your particular case.
Second Degree Burglary
Entering a home for the express purpose of committing a crime is illegal. If a person does this without a weapon, they will face a charge of Burglary in the Second Degree, R.S.Mo. 569.170.2. This is a Class C felony. It is a serious crime that requires the help of an experienced St. Louis criminal defense attorney right away.
For a person to be charged with this crime, they home need to be uninhabited and the person needs to have no deadly weapons on them. So, for instance, if a person broke into a home while the residents were at work and school and a neighbor called the police, they would be arrested for second degree burglary instead of first degree (assuming they had no weapon).
A Class C felony can carry with it a punishment of up to seven years. This is a significant threat to a person’s liberty, so it is generally unwise to simply plead guilty or to attempt to represent yourself. A qualified St. Louis criminal defense attorney can help you fight these charges, aggressively questioning all witnesses and seeking to find holes in the prosecution’s evidence. This way, you have the best chance possible of a positive outcome instead of simply rolling over and accepting a significant jail sentence.
St. Louis criminal defense attorney Richard R. Lozano has been handling cases involving theft since 1994. He puts this experience to work for you, aggressively fighting any and all criminal charges you may face. He has helped clients in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, Jefferson County, St. Charles County, and Franklin County facing serious felony charges and has worked to get them the best possible outcomes for their respective cases.