Many people consider their home their sanctuary. This is a safe place for many to retreat to at the end of the day. As such, residential burglary charges are exceptionally intense, as this is often considered an egregious violation of someone’s safety and rights. If you are facing burglary charges, understanding the penalties and whether or not there are potential defenses is critical. Keep reading to discover what you must know about these charges and how an Oklahoma City felony defense lawyer can assist you during these complex times.
What Constitutes Burglary?
Generally, a burglary occurs when someone enters a property in which they are unwelcome with intent to commit a crime. It’s important to note that both elements of this crime must be preset for a burglary charge to stick. Most commonly, this will be charged as first- or second-degree burglary.
First-degree burglary occurs when someone illegally enters another person’s home by breaking and entering, at the time there is an occupant present. Breaking and entering includes picking a lock or forcibly breaking a window, door, or lock to enter the home.
Second-degree burglary includes breaking and entering into any kind of structure, such as a room, vehicle, or home. However, if no one is present when the burglary occurs, it will not be charged as a first-degree crime. So, if someone breaks into an unoccupied vehicle to steal the radio, this would be deemed second-degree burglary.
What Are the Penalties for This Offense?
It’s important to understand that both first- and second-degree burglary are charged as felonies in the state of Oklahoma.
A first-degree burglary charge is considered a violent felony, as it involves entering the home of another person while it is occupied. As such, you can face anywhere between 7 and 20 years in prison. Additionally, if you are convicted of this crime, you must serve 85% of the sentence before you are eligible for parole in Oklahoma.
Second-degree burglary is less severe than a first-degree charge, but the penalties can still be intense. This felony carries 2 to 7 years in prison. Because it is not a violent felony, meaning those convicted of this crime are not eligible for parole after serving 85% of their sentence.
Is It Possible to Craft a Defense for This Charge?
If charged with burglary, you may assume there is no possible defense for this offense. However, this is far from the truth. One of the biggest things you can do to defend yourself is prove one of the elements was not present. Generally, you may be able to prove that you had permission to enter the property or you had no intent to commit a crime. Additionally, you could demonstrate your innocence, as this could be a case of mistaken identity.
Regardless of whether or not you think a defense is possible, it is imperative to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to discuss the details of your case. At the Jones Firm, we understand the severity of these charges. That’s why our team is committed to exploring all possible avenues to help craft a defense for your circumstances. Reach out today to learn how we will fight for you.