Many people mistakenly think burglary is just another theft crime. But the crime of burglary is far more serious. In addition to being a theft crime, this offense is committed after entering property unlawfully, giving it an additional criminal element.
This charged is treated very seriously in the courts of Massachusetts. If you are accused of a burglary offense, you could be facing multiple years in prison not to mention a permanent criminal record. Depending on the facts of your case, you could even be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence.
The stakes are high and you likely feel like no one is on your side, that no one really cares about the outcome of your case. This is precisely why you need a local defense attorney on your side, working tirelessly on your defense.
Massachusetts Burglary Laws and Penalties
The laws of Massachusetts are complex and can be confusing. The exact charge and penalty you face will depend on the facts of your case. There are several different burglary laws:
Burglary Laws, Defined
Felony Breaking & Entering
New Bedford – Dismissed
Felony Breaking & Entering
Fitchburg – Dismissed
Breaking & Entering w/Intent to Commit Felony
Plymouth – Dismissed
Burglary is defined as breaking and entering a home of another in the nighttime with the intent of committing a felony.
It doesn’t matter if the felony is actually committed or not, merely that you (allegedly) intend to do so. Usually, this felony is theft.
If you are accused of burglary, you will face felony charges which under the statute have a maximum of up to 20 years in prison. If you are accused of a second or greater offense, you will face no less than 5 years in prison as a minimum.
Breaking and Entering vs. Burglary
Massachusetts statutes define breaking and entering and burglary as essentially the same criminal charge.
Breaking and entering requires intent to commit a felony. If that felony is theft, it is commonly called a burglary charge.
However, breaking into someone’s home could be for other reasons, such as (alleged) intent to commit assault.
Armed Burglary or Burglary with Assault
If you burgle a home and the home is occupied, you face even harsher penalties. If you do so with a weapon, you will face a mandatory minimum sentence of no less than 15 years for a first offense. If you do not have a weapon but make an assault on someone occupying the residence, you will face a minimum of 10 years for a first offense.
Prior convictions will only serve to increase the mandatory minimum sentence you are subject to. Similarly, if this isn’t your first offense, the law prevents you from serving probation in lieu of prison time.
Breaking and Entering / Burglary Defenses
We have successfully defended these charges in several different circumstances.
- A mistake: Alcohol or drugs might cause someone to enter the wrong home mistakenly, or simply act recklessly and out of character.
- A domestic situation that got out of hand: If the defending is an ex-spouse, ex-roommate, or ex-boyfriend that previously had access to the property, the alleged break-in might have been either an honest mistake or the result of an ongoing disagreement related to other issues.
These cases are both very complicated to sort out, and extremely serious felonies that the courts don’t take lightly.
There are many variables to consider when facing burglary charges. We can help you understand the charges you face and what they might mean for your future. Having represented numerous clients in the criminal courts of Massachusetts, we can work to aggressively defend you as well.
Contact our offices today to discuss your charges and find out how we can help.