When we hear about a burglary in our neighborhood, we tend to double check to make sure all the locks are working and secure and that the home alarm is set. There are many ways of legally describing the act of taking something that doesn’t belong to you, chief among them: theft, robbery, shoplifting and burglary. Burglary is a crime of stealth.
Burglary is a serious crime under Oklahoma law, but a skilled Claremore attorney can usually find effective strategies to defend a burglary case. Even when the weight of evidence is such that a defense is impractical – imagine the suspect caught in the act who instantly and repeatedly admits the crime after being duly advised of his Miranda rights — defense strategies can involve minimizing incarceration, with a focus on remediation.
In any burglary charge, the stakes involve reputation, freedom and future opportunities. The experienced counsel of a Rogers County defense lawyer can be the best way to avoid paying too much for an admitedly wrong turn, or facing consequences for a crime you did not commit.
Burglary in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, burglary is a crime that can be charged as either in the first or the second degree, with first degree being more serious than second degree.
In Oklahoma, burglary in the first degree is defined as an illegal entry by breaking and entering or other means, into a dwelling or other structure with the intent to commit a crime inside, at a time when another person is in the dwelling. Okla. Stat. 21 § 1431. Breaking and entering an inhabited structure with the intent to burgle is a much more dangerous proposition for the victim and that makes this a serious crime.
The breaking and entering is the illegal entry and it can be done in a variety of ways, all illegal. A burglar can use tools such as a crowbar to break a window or jam open a door. It can be done with a baseball bat, a lock pick or even with a false key. All of these are sufficient methods under the law to be found guilty if the requisite intent–that of the intent to steal, or commit another crime–can also be proven.
Burglary in the Second Degree
In Oklahoma, burglary in the second degree is defined as breaking and entering a building, in whole or part, or any booth, tent, railroad car, automobile, truck, trailer, vessel, vending machine, or other structure, in which property is kept, with intent to steal property inside or to commit any felony. Either intent is sufficient for a conviction–to steal or to commit another felony. Okla. Stat. 21 § 1435.
Penalties for Burglary
Burglary is a felony in Oklahoma, whether of the first or second degree. However, burglary of the first degree carries a much harsher prison sentence: seven to 20 years. Burglary in the second degree is punishable by a prison term of between two and seven years. Okla. Stat. 21 § 1436. In addition, a conviction of first degree is subject to the 85% Rule in Oklahoma. That means, that if convicted, a person will have to serve 85% of the sentence before becoming eligible for parole. Okla. Stat. 21 § 13.1.
If you are under investigation or are being charged for burglary, you need an Claremore criminal defense attorney to help you preserve your freedom. There are defenses available to you. For a burglary conviction, the prosecution must prove intent. Without that, there is no conviction. Or, your Rogers County criminal attorney may be able to plead your case down to breaking and entering only, which is a misdemeanor in Oklahoma. Okla. Stat. 21 § 1438.
Free Consultation: Claremore Criminal Defense Attorney
Any time you are facing the possibility of jail time is a great time to hire an experienced attorney. Call the Claremore Lawyer today. We are here and ready to help you. And the initial consultation is free. Call Wirth Law Office at (918) 213-0950. If you prefer written correspondence, submit your question using the form at the top right of this page.