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Burglary Legal Defense in Utah

Burglary Legal Defense in Utah

Burglary is defined as the unlawful entry into a building, with the crime in the structure. Some jurisdictions include other elements, such as breaking and entering at nighttime, or intending to commit a felony. Burglary is sometimes classified as a “crime against the habitation,” although the building does not usually need to be a home.

Since there are so many elements to the crime of burglary, many cases that seem like burglary actually are not. For example, if the defendant was granted access to the building, it will not be considered burglary. Or, if they did not intend to commit a crime, it also would not be considered burglary, even if the entry was illegal. However, they may be guilty of other crimes like larceny.

Although the exact definition of burglary may be a little different from state to state, the crime typically involves a culprit:
 entering
 a building
 without permission
 With the intent to commit a felony or steal property while inside (even if the theft itself would only be a misdemeanor).

Burglary is distinguished from less serious crimes such as criminal trespass in that, with burglary, the prosecution has to prove that a defendant intended to commit a qualifying crime inside the building at the very moment of entry.

Definition of Burglary in Utah

The crime of burglary does not actually require theft, as many people think. Burglary, robbery, and theft are often linked together as similar crimes. While theft involves stealing from another, and robbery involves stealing from another using force, burglary can include the crime of breaking into a building to steal. However, Utah’s definition of burglary is broader, and includes other actions as well.

The main part of burglary’s definition is that it is a crime involving trespass, plus another crime. Utah Code § 76-6-202 says that burglary is when someone “enters or remains unlawfully in a building or any portion of a building,” and has the intent to commit another crime. To count as burglary, that other crime must be:
 Any other felony,
 Theft
 Assault
 Lewdness
 Sexual battery
 Lewdness involving a child, or
 Voyeurism.

Burglary is almost always a felony. Most states divide the crime into degrees of severity, depending on certain factors. The danger of physical injury is greatest when a burglar enters an inhabited building so, in many states, this constitutes first degree burglary. Under some statutes, entry at night rather than in the daytime also constitutes a first degree burglary, regardless of whether the building is inhabited

Penalty for burglary in Utah

Burglary is a serious crime in Utah. Classified as a felony, burglary can be a crime against property or a crime against another person. This distinction helps decide the punishment you will receive. Burglary is often confused with robbery and other theft crimes, but does not need to include a theft. Burglary actually punishes entering a building, making it closer to a severe form of trespass. It can often involve theft, but because burglary can also be a crime against a person, its penalties are quite high in Utah.
If you have been charged with burglary in Utah, talk to an attorney right away. Salt Lake City burglary defense attorney Darwin Over son represents people accused of crimes. Darwin will work to protect your rights, challenge the evidence against you, and work to get charges dropped and penalties reduced.

Degrees of Penalties for Burglary in Utah

The state of Utah defines the offense of burglary into two separate categories, depending on the location of the crimes committed. A defendant will be charged with third degree burglary if the offenses were committed in a commercial building. A burglary occurring in a home or residence is charged as a second-degree burglary. The seriousness of the offense will also be taken into consideration when charges are filed.
• Third-Degree Felony
The offense of third degree burglary is unlawful entry of a building or business with intent to commit theft, property damage, and violence against another person.
• Second-Degree
Burglary committed in a residence, including the intent to commit theft, assault and/or sexual assault against another person is considered a second-degree felony in Utah.

Sentencing for a Burglary Conviction

When a defendant is convicted of burglary, the judge or jury then considers sentencing parameters for the individual crimes that were committed during the burglary. A number of things are taken into consideration, including:
 If violence against another person was involved.
 The severity of the crimes committed during the burglary.
 The value of the stolen property.
 The defendant’s previous criminal history.
Penalties for third-degree felony burglary in Utah may result in fines of up to $5,000 and a maximum of 5 years in prison. Second-degree felony burglary is punishable by fines of up to $10,000 and a maximum of 15 years in prison. When violence is involved, the judge or jury will often order the maximum punishment allowed by law.

Defense of Burglary Charges

If you or someone you know has been arrested and charged with burglary, our experienced criminal defense lawyers can help. When providing a defense in serious cases like burglary charges, it is best if a lawyer can get involved in the case as early as possible. Like many criminal cases, burglary is a very fact-specific crime. This means that the specific type of crime charged — and the potential consequences — will depend on the specific facts that the prosecuting attorney believes can be proven. The earlier a defense lawyer gets involved in your case, to review the evidence against you and conduct an independent investigation, the better the chances of building a strong defense on your behalf.

Related Offenses: Aggravated Burglary, Robbery, Theft, and Trespassing

Several crimes are closely related to burglary. These offenses include:
 Aggravated Burglary – Aggravated burglary is even more serious than a burglary charge because it is burglary plus additional elements. A person is charged with aggravated burglary when they allegedly commit burglary and injure someone or use, attempt to use, or threaten to use a dangerous weapon such as a gun, knife, or explosive.
 Robbery – Robbery involves using force or fear to physically take property away from another person, such as mugging someone and stealing their purse or wallet.
 Theft– There is many forms of theft in Utah, such as shoplifting (retail theft), theft of services, and possession of stolen property.
 Trespassing– Trespassing, or criminal trespass, is a common allegation against teenagers. Trespassing involves unlawfully entering a property with intent to spray graffiti, to “cause annoyance or injury,” or to commit a crime “other than theft or a felony.”

Our Utah criminal defense law firm defends adults and juveniles charged with burglary and related offenses, including aggravated burglary, theft, robbery, and criminal trespass.

While burglary is always charged as a felony, some burglary offenses are more serious than others, and therefore, carry greater penalties if the defendant is convicted. That is because there are different levels of felony charges. The details of the alleged burglary will determine how the offense is classified – and in turn, the penalties that may result from a conviction.

Generally speaking, burglary is prosecuted as a third-degree felony, which is one level above a misdemeanor in Utah. However, it can be prosecuted as a second-degree felony, which is more serious, in cases where the defendant allegedly burgled a “dwelling,” meaning somebody’s home, condo, or apartment. Aggravated burglary is always a first-degree felony, which is the most serious type of crime under Utah’s penal code. For example, murder and rape are first degree felonies.

Judges have some discretion over how to sentence a convicted defendant but must abide by the maximum limits set by state law. The maximum penalties for burglary felonies in Utah include the following fines and prison sentences:

Property Crimes

When charged with a property crime, you need an attorney who understands the legal issues and can raise valid defenses.
• Many of these cases show nothing more than a disagreement or dispute about property rights.
• Prosecutors and law enforcement sometimes use the criminal justice system as a collection agency in civil disputes.
• Serious property crimes alleged in the course of a divorce or domestic disagreements often involve two people with competing claims regarding their rights to possess or occupy the property.
Although these accusations are serious, the law provides important defenses that can be asserted by an experienced attorney. Don’t make the mistake of just pleading guilty.

Different Types of Property Crimes in Utah

Utah law provides for many different types of property crimes including:
 Arson (Utah Criminal Code 76-6-102)
 Aggravated Arson (Utah Criminal Code 76-6-102)
 Reckless Burning (Utah Criminal Code 76-6-104)
 Causing a Catastrophe (Utah Criminal Code 76-6-105)
 Criminal Mischief (Utah Criminal Code 76-6-106)
 Burglary (Utah Criminal Code 76-6-202)
 Aggravated Burglary (Utah Criminal Code 76-6-203)
 Burglary of a Vehicle (Utah Criminal Code 76-6-204)
 Criminal Trespass (Utah Criminal Code 76-6-206)
 Graffiti (Utah Criminal Code 76-6-107)
 Property Damage Caused While Committing a Theft (Utah Criminal Code 76-6-412.5)

Utah Military Lawyer

You have worked hard for your military career. If you are being threatened with a rank reduction, discharge or a Court-Martial you should hire private defense counsel to fight for your rights. Call Ascent Law for a free office consultation regarding your legal issues.

things to know about Utah’s self-defense laws

Police say a fatal incident Sunday, Feb. 7, in Riverdale ended with a man calling 911 to say he’d shot his girlfriend, who he said was armed with a knife. And though few details have been released about the ongoing investigation, it’s raised questions in the Standard-Examiner’s comment sections about Utah’s self-defense laws. Utah’s code 76-2-402 addresses “force in defense of person.” The code details when the threat or use of force against another can and cannot be interpreted as self-defense. Utah code says using force is justified when a person reasonably believes it’s necessary to defend him, herself or others against the imminent use of unlawful force. However, the law says people can only use deadly force if they reasonably believe it’s necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to themselves or others. The decision to use deadly force in these cases must be made as a result of the attacker’s imminent use of unlawful force or to prevent the offender from committing a forcible felony. Not sure what a forcible felony is? Check out the section below labeled, “What is a forcible felony?” Utah law says self-defense isn’t justified if — in an attempt to inflict harm on someone — a person provokes another person they’d like to harm into using force. A person who is attempting to commit, committing or fleeing after committing a felony can’t claim self-defense either.

Finally, self-defense isn’t justified when a person was the aggressor or was engaged in “combat by agreement,” which means agreeing to fight with someone.

According to the law, a person does not have a duty to retreat from force or threatened force in a place they’ve lawfully entered or remained — except to indicate intent to withdraw from “combat by agreement.” As was mentioned earlier, Utah’s can use deadly force to prevent a forcible felony if there’s danger of death or serious injury to themselves or others. Utah law says forcible felonies include aggravated assault, mayhem, aggravated murder, murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, aggravated kidnapping, rape, forcible sodomy, rape of a child, object rape, object rape of a child, sexual abuse of a child, aggravated sexual abuse of a child, aggravated sexual assault, arson, robbery and burglary. However, burglary of a vehicle is not a forcible felony unless the vehicle is occupied.

Burglary Lawyer Free Consultation

When you need to defend against a crime in Utah, please call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506