Burglary is often associated with theft. People say they have been “burglarized” when someone breaks into their house and steals their belongings. If that happens, that is certainly an example of burglary, but the crime has a broader definition.
By law, burglary is the act of illegally entering a location to commit a crime. The location could be a business, not just a home, and the crime could be vandalism, not just theft. Because of this definition, people can be surprised when they find they’ve been charged with burglary.
If you’ve been accused of burglary, here are some defenses you can use in court.
You Were in a Poor Mental State
Courts can show compassion toward people who commit a crime when they are not in their right mind. Sometimes, an illness can make you confused, causing you to accidentally enter the wrong location. Mental illness crises can make someone behave in ways that are wildly opposed to how they normally act. Even severe intoxication can be used as a defense against burglary.
There Was No Intent to Commit a Separate Crime
In a burglary case, prosecutors must prove two things:
- You entered the location illegally
- You planned to commit a crime while there
For a burglary charge to stick, both pieces must be true.
Entering a location illegally is simply trespassing. If you had no intention of committing any other crimes while in said location, your lawyer may be able to argue your allegations down to a more reasonable charge.
You Were Coerced
Sometimes, dangerous criminals force others to do their dirty work. This keeps them distant from the crime and allows someone else to take the fall for them.
If you commit a crime because someone threatened you or your family, you were operating under “duress.” Make sure to tell your attorney the details of your allegations. They may be able to explain the whole story to the court and preserve your innocence.
The Evidence Does Not Add Up
In any criminal trial, it’s important to scrutinize the evidence against the defendant. For instance, security footage is often blurry, and it’s hard to accurately identify a suspect. Witnesses are often unreliable as well.
There may also be no evidence directly connecting you to the crime. Perhaps there are no fingerprints, footprints, or any other types of physical evidence.
Penalties for Burglary in Nevada
The state categorizes burglary in several different ways. Penalties mostly depend on where the crime took place.
Burglary of a Residence:
Category B felony; between 1 and 10 years in prison
Burglary of a Business
Category C felony; between 1 and 5 years in prison; fines up to $10,000
Burglary of Any Other Structure
Category D felony; between 1 and 4 years in prison; fines up to $5,000
Burglary of a Motor Vehicle
Category E felony; probation with a suspended sentence; possibility of up to 1 year in jail; incarceration could go up to 4 years in prison if the offender has prior felony charges; fines up to $5,000.
Our firm is here to help defend you against burglary charges. If you need help, contact us today. You can schedule time with us online or call us at (775) 502-1575.