Portsmouth Burglary Lawyer

Burglary is a crime that can be treated very differently under the law depending on the circumstances. If you have been accused of committing burglary, you should reach out to an attorney as soon as possible.

Working with an experienced Portsmouth burglary lawyer can put you in the best position to fight the charges. A knowledgeable theft attorney could help protect your rights, gather evidence, and advocate on your behalf to work toward a positive outcome.

Understanding Burglary

Burglary is also referred to as “breaking and entering” because the crime involves coming into a home without authority in a way that could be threatening to those who live there. Any slight use of force may be considered breaking in. Using threats or tricks to gain entrance can be considered constructive breaking.

In addition to entering a dwelling, the crime also requires the person to be acting with the intent to commit a crime. The severity of a burglary offense often depends on the nature of the crime the person breaking in intended to commit. A skilled Portsmouth burglary lawyer may be able to argue successfully that the individual accused had no intent to commit a crime and therefore should be not held guilty of burglary.

Three Degrees of Statutory Burglary

In Virginia, burglary is classified by three classes, including Class 6, Class 3 or Class 2 felony depending on the circumstances. A diligent burglary lawyer in Portsmouth could work to present the facts in the light most favorable to the person accused.

Under Va. Code Ann. §18.2-92, if an individual breaks into a dwelling with the intent to commit a misdemeanor other than trespass or assault and battery, that person may be convicted of a Class 6 felony. However, if the person enters armed with a deadly weapon, the severity of crime escalates drastically to a Class 2 felony.

In situations where a person enters with the intent to commit rape, murder, arson, or robbery, then the crime is treated as a Class 3 felony under Va. Code Ann. §18.2-90. The presence of a deadly weapon will make the crime a Class 2 felony. When someone enters intending to commit a felony other than those four offenses, and there is no deadly weapon involved, the judge may have the discretion to assess a lesser penalty.

Penalties for Burglary

When burglary is penalized as a Class 6 felony, the court may sentence the person convicted to a term of up to five years in jail but could also impose a lesser sentence and a fine of up to $2,500. For a Class 3 felony, there is a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 20 years. Those convicted of a Class 2 burglary, essentially any burglary involving a weapon, can be sentenced to life in prison.

Also, those convicted of Class 2 or 3 felonies may be fined up to $100,000. A tenacious breaking and entering attorney will look for mitigating factors to help the defendant avoid the harsh consequences of a conviction.

Reach Out to a Portsmouth Burglary Attorney Today

If you are facing burglary charges, it is a good idea to work with an attorney who understands how the details can make a huge difference. Evidence regarding the intent to commit a crime could make the difference between a conviction for a Class 2 or 3 felony and a dismissal.

An experienced Portsmouth burglary lawyer could start right away, collecting evidence to build a strong defense against the charges. Call today to learn more about how a dedicated defense attorney could help you fight the charges.