When most people hear the word “burglary,” their first thought is of a person in a ski mask sneaking into a person’s home and making off with their possessions. While this is certainly a classic example of the crime, it is not the only way in which a person can be charged with burglary. What many do not know, however, is that a person can be charged with burglary even if they did not steal anything.
Under Arizona law, burglary is divided into three distinct classifications, all of which are felony offenses and can expose a person to a lengthy prison sentence upon conviction. The least serious type, known as third degree burglary, is described as doing any of the following:
- Unlawfully entering or remaining in a nonresidential structure or fenced-in area with the intent to commit a theft or felony
- Unlawfully entering into any part of a vehicle with burglar’s tools with the intent to commit any theft or felony.
Under this definition, third degree burglary is, in essence, a type of property crime similar to trespassing. While the underlying intent may be to commit a theft, a person may be charged and convicted of burglary simply for being in a place where they have no right to be.
Penalties for Burglary in Arizona
If convicted of third degree burglary, a person can face 18 months to 3 years in prison. These charges can be escalated to second degree burglary if the defendant entered into a residential structure, carrying 2.5 to 7 years in prison. Finally, if a defendant is accused of committing second or third degree burglary involving the use of a firearm, explosive, or other deadly weapon, these charges can be escalated to first degree burglary and carry a staggering 4 to 10 years in prison.
As you can see, burglary charges in Arizona are extremely serious and require the expertise of a powerful criminal defense attorney in order to be successfully defended against. If you have been accused of burglary, contact the Mesa theft crime lawyers at Naegle & Crider Criminal Defense Attorneys today. Backed by a National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 Under 40 inclusion and a perfect 10.0 “Superb” Avvo Rating, we have what it takes to maximize your chances of securing a favorable outcome for your situation. Your future may be in jeopardy – call (480) 418-0776 today to discuss your defense options in full detail.