Charged for Being an Unwanted Visitor? Your Case is Welcomed by Passionate Virginia Burglary Attorney Joseph Yoon
Burglary is often associated with theft and larceny, which are more general terms often used interchangeably to basically refer to the unlawful taking of another’s property without their permission.
A common misconception is that burglary involves breaking into a residence and following that up with stealing from said house. Although that is partially true, there is more to it. According to the Virginia code for burglary (§ 18.2-89), it can really be any means of unlawful entry in the nighttime, which can possibly include any trespassing as well as breaking and entering, and with just the intent to commit a larceny or felony. The code specifies “intent” suggesting that the crime did not even have had to happen, and the crime could have been anything; not just theft.
However, just because the conditions for the charge can vary, the penalties will not be light as it is a felony conviction if you are found guilty.
Burglary (Va. code § 18.2-89) charges are a Class 3 felony. The convicted can be looking at five to 20 years in prison, and/or up to $100,000 in penalty. At the time of the burglary, if you were discovered being armed with a deadly weapon, the charge becomes a Class 2 felony, which imposes a possible prison sentence of 20 years to life in prison, and/or fines up to $100,000.
Burglary and Breaking & Entering: Related Charges
While burglary pertains to nighttime raids, the related “breaking and entering” charges are not exclusive to when darkness falls and can include during the day time as well. “Breaking and entering” into a house can also stem from various forms of unlawful entry, as is the case with burglary. As you can probably guess, actually committing the crime in addition to just having the intent to, can tack on that extra charge to these ones below.
- 18.2-90: Entering dwelling house, etc., with intent to commit murder, rape, robbery or arson; is charged with statutory burglary
The code states this charge can come from breaking and entering during the day, or just simply entering in the night. As the title of the code suggests, if you have been charged with § 18.2-90, there was initial reason to believe that you had the intent to commit the felonies of murder, rape, robbery, or arson after breaking in.
This is also Class 3 felony, but being armed with a deadly weapon at the time raises the charge to a Class 2 felony.
- 18.2-91: Entering dwelling house, etc., with intent to commit larceny, assault and battery or other felony.
Enter a residence at at any time as an uninvited guest intending to steal, or to cause some bodily harm, and the punishment can be imprisonment from one to 20 years, or (depending on the jury) possible jail time up to 12 months and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
Being armed with a deadly weapon at the time elevates the charge to a Class 2 felony.
- 18.2-92: Breaking and entering dwelling house with intent to commit other misdemeanor
Breaking and entering in the day or night to commit any misdemeanor except assault and battery or trespassing can result in a Class 6 felony. Armed with a deadly weapon, and again the charge jumps up to Class 2 felony.
Fighting Convictions in Court
If you are facing any of these charges, perhaps the intent of your entry can be questionable, assuming there was no offense that followed the entry of the residence. The court must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had the intent, and if there is any evidence to suggest otherwise, it can be used to challenge the charge in court. Maybe even the entry itself can be questionable. The details of your case matter, and that is why calling a burglary/breaking and entering attorney and explaining your circumstances can be a start to avoiding the worst of the charge(s).
As you can see above, these are felony charges in Virginia, which can cause a list of other negative implications if convicted in addition to the punishments stated in the code. Teaming with a seasoned lawyer such as Attorney Joseph Yoon of Yoon Law Firm, PLLC, in Fairfax, VA who will fight for you and your case, could be the difference.