A first-time maximum punishment for felony burglary in Pennsylvania is up to 10 or 20 years imprisonment and $25,000 in fines under 18 Pa.C.S. § 1103, depending upon the grading of your offense.
However, if prosecutors can prove that you intended to commit a first- or second-degree felony after entry, you could receive multiple convictions for other charges and additional penalties. Additional penalties would depend upon your specific case’s facts and circumstances.
In This Article
A Philadelphia burglary defense lawyer explains why you are being charged, how the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania grades this type of crime, penalties according to the grade of your charges, how you could potentially defend your case, and what you can do to start protecting your legal rights now.
Why Am I Being Charged with Burglary?
You are being charged with burglary in Pennsylvania because police and prosecutors believe you entered a building or structure with the intent to commit a crime. It does not matter if someone was occupying the structure or not.
However, your charges are defensible, and the prosecutor must meet their burden of proof. Speak with a burglary defense lawyer that practices in Pennsylvania to help you build your defense. If there is an issue to raise in your case, your lawyer is the right person to do it.
Is Burglary a Felony in Pennsylvania?
Yes, burglary is a felony in Pennsylvania. Depending upon the facts of your case, the law grades burglary as a first- or second-degree felony. Felonies are the most consequential convictions one can receive at the state level and carry up to decades in prison and tens of thousands in fines.
Pennsylvania penalties for burglary are steep if prosecutors can get a conviction against you. Plus, first- and second-degree felonies are among the most serious felony charges.
The penalties for burglary, by grading, are outlined below:
- First-degree penalty: Up to 20 years in prison and fines of $25,000
- Second-degree penalty: Up to 10 years in prison and fines of $25,000
The potential penalties tell you how seriously the Commonwealth takes burglary crimes, even if you did not actually commit a crime upon entering. Avoid making any statements about your case to anyone, and get legal advice from a defense attorney as soon as possible.
Related Article: What is a Felony in Pennsylvania?
How Do I Defend My Burglary Charges?
One of the most important things to remember is that the justice system must meet specific elements to secure a conviction. These elements generally include proving their case beyond a reasonable doubt. If they cannot meet this standard, then they should not be able to get a guilty verdict.
Within the context of burglary, examples of defenses used to beat burglary charges include:
- Example 1. No intent: If you did not intend to commit a crime, you should not be facing burglary charges. While you could still face trespassing charges, the potential penalties are far less than a felony burglary charge. You will also be given the opportunity to defend those charges if this situation applies to you.
- Example 2. Public property: Were you legally on public property? If so, you had a right to be there. The main element is that you must have entered the property unlawfully. As such, you could use this defense if you were within your rights to be on public property.
- Example 3. Mistaken identity: Maybe you were accused of a crime of which someone else is guilty. You might even have an alibi that can speak to your whereabouts about the event in question. If prosecutors do not have their facts correct, this issue should be raised.
There are several other types of defenses that could work out for your case. The strategy you deploy depends upon the facts and circumstances of your arrest. However, the most effective way to protect your legal rights when facing burglary charges is to hire a burglary defense lawyer in Pennsylvania.
Where Can I Get Legal Advice About My Burglary Charges in Pennsylvania?
The most trustworthy and reliable way to get legal advice about your burglary charges is by speaking with a Pennsylvania criminal defense firm that represents burglary matters. We can offer you information about what to expect, how you could potentially beat your charges and other details based on the initial facts.
Then, if you decide to work together, your attorney can start making progress on your case. Even early intervention tactics can yield results before your next hearing, although not entirely common. Regardless of the direction in which you decide to take your case, legal representation allows you to defend yourself effectively and with the knowledge that you gave yourself every fighting chance at freedom.
Shuttleworth Law Invites You to Call Us for a Free Case Evaluation
Brad V. Shuttleworth, Esq. will not take your charges lightly. He and the legal team at Shuttleworth Law welcome you to contact us for more information about your or your loved one’s burglary charges. Call us now for Your Free Case Evaluation at (215) 774-1371 or by messaging Brad directly online.