Unfortunately, many in Oklahoma assume that burglary charges are petty crimes, as stealing is often associated with shoplifting teenagers rebelling against their parents. However, this is far from the truth. In actuality, burglary is a serious crime in Oklahoma, with intense penalties for those convicted. As such, familiarizing yourself with the consequences you can face if charged is critical. The following blog explores what warrants a charge, if burglary is a felony, and why you need an Oklahoma City felony defense lawyer to represent you through these complex matters.

What Constitutes a Burglary Charge?

Unfortunately, many are unaware of the differences between burglary, theft, and robbery, using the three interchangeably. However, it’s essential to understand that these three offenses are very different. As such, burglary is charged to anyone who breaks into and enters the home of another person, while it’s occupied, with intent to commit a crime. Breaking and entering influences breaking a wall, door, window, or lock to gain entry or picking a lock. Additionally, if you break into any other manner while armed with a weapon or with the aid of another person, you can be charged with burglary.

However, you can also face a burglary charge if you break into any other kind of structure, like a room, car, vessel, or even a vending machine with intent to commit a crime.

Does Oklahoma Consider Burglary a Felony?

In Oklahoma, burglary in the first and second degree are considered felonies. When you break into a home, it is considered a first-degree felony, while breaking into any other kind of structure is a second-degree felony.

If charged with first-degree burglary, it’s essential to understand that this is considered a violent felony. As such, a first-degree burglary charge warrants 7 to 20 years in prison. Because it is a violent crime, it falls under Oklahoma’s 85% rule, meaning those convicted must serve at least 85% of their sentence before they are eligible for parole.

A second-degree burglary conviction carries two to seven years. It is not considered a violent crime and therefore does not constitute the 85% rule.

Are There Any Potential Defenses I Can Use?

If you are charged with burglary, understanding the potential defenses you may be able to use for your circumstances is critical. One option is to prove that you had authorization or consent to enter the building or structure that was never previously revoked. As such, you would have a reasonable belief that you were still able to enter the building.

Additionally, you may be able to prove that you are innocent, such as if you were wrongly identified or someone falsely accused you of this crime. You may have an alibi to prove you are innocent or evidence to prove that you were not the burglar.

At the Jones Firm, PLLC, we understand how overwhelming a felony charge can be, which is why our team is dedicated to helping you navigate these complex matters. Connect with our team today to learn how we can fight for you.