Thursday, 17. April 2014
Many people believe the crime of burglary is defined as breaking into a residence a stealing someone else’s property, but that’s not necessarily the case. In it’s least criminal degree (4th), Minnesota defines the act of burglary as:
Entering a building without consent with intent to commit a misdemeanor other than stealing, or entering a building without consent and committing a misdemeanor other than to stealing while in the building, either directly or as an accomplice.
In layman’s terms, you can be charged with Burglary in the Fourth Degree even if you don’t steal anything. If you break into a residence and intentionally damage property, you can be charged with Burglary.
1st and 2nd Degree
As noted above, Burglary in the Fourth Degree is the least criminal burglary charge, so it stands to reason there are four degrees of burglary. They are Burglary in the First, Second, Third and Fourth Degrees. All four charges are detailed below.
Burglary in the First Degree is the most severe of the burglary classifications. In order for the crime to be considered a First Degree offense, the following factors must be present.
- With intent to commit a crime, a burglar breaks into a building or residence that is occupied by at least one person at the time of the break-in.
- The burglar possesses a dangerous weapon or any instrument that the victim believes is a dangerous weapon; or
- The burglar assaults the victim inside the home or on the building’s property.
A person guilty of Burglary in the First Degree in Minnesota can be sentenced to 20 years in prison and fines up to $35,000.
Burglary in the Second Degree is the “Ocean’s Eleven” of burglaries. In essence, Burglary in the Second Degree occurs when a burglar uses tools to gain access to a bank, pharmacy, or other area of a business where securities or valuable papers are kept. Maximum penalties for this offense are 10 years in prison and/or fines up to $20,000.
3rd and 4th Degree
Burglary in the Third Degree is your basic small scale burglary. This offense occurs when a person enters a building without consent and:
- Steals, commits a felony or gross misdemeanor; or
- Intends to steal, commit a felony or gross misdemeanor; or
- Is an accomplice to a party who steals or commits a felony or gross misdemeanor.
A person convicted of Burglary in the Third Degree in Minnesota can be sentenced to five years in prison and fined up to $10,000.
As mentioned above, Burglary in the Fourth Degree occurs when a person enters a building without consent with the intention of committing a misdemeanor. A person can be sentenced to one year in prison and fines up to $3,000 if they are convicted of Burglary in the Fourth degree.