Claremore Lawyer BlogHow Serious is First Degree Burglary in Claremore?

first degree burglaryAny crime that is deemed a felony and carries prison time as a sentence if convicted is a serious matter in Claremore, Oklahoma. First degree burglary is one of those crimes. If convicted, you could spend a long time in prison.

Here is what you might want to know about how the crime is handled in Claremore.

Burglary in Oklahoma Defined

Burglary is more than just the stereotypical image of a man breaking into a house at night. It oftentimes does include theft, but the crime can include more than theft.

Burglary in Oklahoma can be of the first or second degree, with burglary in the first degree as the more serious of the two crimes.

First degree burglary 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. tit. 21 § 1431

The presence of a person inside the dwelling during the commission of the crime makes it more likely that injury or death will result as a result of the illegal entry.

The crime can be broken down into elements. Defenses against burglary charges are grounded in evidence that disproves any or all elements of the crime.

Elements of First Degree Burglary

The elements of the first degree burglary are:

  • breaking and
  • entering
  • a dwelling
  • of another
  • in which a human is present and
  • with the intent to commit some crime therein.

OUJI-CR 5-12

The prosecution has the burden of proving all of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt. If any one element is left unproven, there can be no conviction.

Breaking and Entering: A Term of Art

Breaking and entering is what is called a lesser included offense in the crime of burglary. That means breaking and entering is a separate crime in and of itself.

Thus, if the prosecution is unable to prove all the elements of burglary, but is able to prove a breaking and entering, it is likely that the burglary charge will be reduced to the lesser crime of breaking and entering.

Breaking and entering is any illegal entry and can be done in a variety of ways.

It can include forcibly breaking a wall, door, window, or the locks on any of these.

It can also mean using a pick or a false key or just lifting the latch or opening a window if you have no permission to enter.

Finally, it can also mean breaking into the premises in any other manner while armed with a dangerous weapon or being assisted by one or more accomplices present at the scene.

Permission or consent to enter is the primary defense against an illegal breaking and entering charge.  If a person has permission to enter and opens a window because they accidentally locked themselves out or forgot their key, it may look like a breaking and entering — but the permission makes the entry legal.

Intent: Any Crime Will Do

The prosecution must also prove that you had the intention to commit a crime inside at the time that you were breaking and entering. That crime can be theft, rape, assault, battery, or any other crime.

Intent can be difficult to prove.  Prosecutors often look to circumstantial evidence to prove intent. An empty bag may be used to prove intent, but that same bag may be relevant to other facts that are important to your defense.

These cases are heavily fact bound. Even the most trivial of facts may be important to building a strong defense. That is why it is important that you discuss all the facts and circumstances of your case with an experienced attorney.

Penalties for Burglary

Burglary is a felony in Oklahoma punishable by 7 to 20 years in prison. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1436

In addition, a conviction of first degree burglary is subject to the 85% rule in Oklahoma. That means if you are convicted, you will have to serve 85% of your sentence before becoming eligible for parole. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 13.1

If you are under investigation or are being charged for burglary, you will need an attorney with knowledge and experience in criminal law to help you preserve your freedom.

Free Consultation with an Experienced Claremore Criminal Defense Attorney

Don’t delay. We at Claremore Lawyer pride ourselves on providing the best legal representation at reasonable rates. Your initial consultation is free.

Call 918-213-0950 today. If you prefer written correspondence, submit your question using the form at the top right of this page.

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