18 Pa.C.S. § 3502
BURGLARY CHARGES IN PENNSYLVANIA
Burglary in PA
In Pennsylvania, a person is guilty of burglary if he enters a building or occupied structure with the intent to commit a crime inside.
The consequences of a burglary conviction in PA include jail time (typically a state sentence), prolonged probation / parole supervision, expensive fines and restitution. A burglary conviction may also prevent a person from gaining employment, keeping a job, or participating in certain education / training programs.
Grading and Offense Gravity Score
Burglary is a serious felony offense. In all but one scenario, it is graded as a felony of the first degree so the maximum penalty is typically twenty (20) years jail and a $25,000.00 fine. The lowest grading is a felony of the second degree with a maximum period of incarceration of ten (10) years and a fine of $25,000.00.
Like any criminal case, the range of punishment relevant to a burglary offense is dependent on two factors, the offense gravity score (“OGS”) [the vertical axis] and the accused’s prior record score (“PRS”) [the horizontal axis]. The standard sentencing range is determined by finding where an accused’s PRS and OGS of the offense at issue meet on the basic sentencing matrix.
Every crime in Pennsylvania is assigned an OGS by statute. In PA, the OGS range is from 1 (less serious offenses) to 14 (most troubling offenses). There are eight PRS categories in PA. The PRS categories are 0 to 5, repeat felon and repeat violent offender. The rules on calculating an accused’s prior record score are very complicated and a full discussion on the issue is well beyond the scope of this article.
There are six (6) separate burglary offenses in PA. The most important factors are (1) the use of the structure; (2) if a person was present at the time of the offense, and (3) the type of crime attempted or committed. In general, the most serious burglary offenses involve the entry of a home. A home is defined as a structure adapted for overnight accommodations. As noted below, if the illegal entry is motivated by an intent to commit a theft of drugs, it is assigned a more severe grading.
Burglary Offense Chart
In the chart below, the PRS is set at the lowest level, 0. In other words, the chart shows the lowest standard sentencing ranges for burglary convictions in Pennsylvania. All sentencing ranges refer to months of incarceration.
An Experienced PA Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help
If you or someone you know has been charged with burglary in PA it is extremely important to timely hire an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney because these cases are complex and the accused’s freedom and other important rights are at risk.
Statutory Defenses to Burglary Charges
For example, a lawyer should investigate to learn if any of the following defenses apply. If any of these facts are established, the entry is not a crime:
The Building is abandoned.
The premises are open to the public at the time of the entry.
The actor is licensed or privileged to enter building.
When choosing a lawyer, it is important that to seek the services of a lawyer that primarily practices criminal defense and that the lawyer has personally handled felony cases in the county where the burglary charge is being prosecuted. Likewise, it is vital that the lawyer understands and can conduct a full investigation into the facts and circumstances of the allegation.
An experienced defense lawyer can effectively challenge the Commonwealth’s evidence by various means, including: the identity if the accused, presenting an alibi, dispute the building’s use, the status and intent of the accused at the time of the alleged entry, the proper grading of the offense. Hiring the right criminal defense lawyer, as soon as possible, can help the accused build their case by gathering the evidence to build a defense. It is the best chance for an accused to preserve their legal rights, as well as their liberty.
Contact Lampman Law to Discuss a Burglary Case
You should look for a criminal defense lawyer, like myself, who is aggressive, honest and caring, and who has extensive experience defending burglary cases and with the local criminal justice system. As a criminal defense lawyer, I have handled many burglary cases. In fact, I have defended cases ranging from minor traffic violations and first time Drug and DUI charges to first-degree murder cases. I am in the local criminal courts daily and maintain a positive relationship with the District Attorney's Office, the local police, and I have appeared in court before the local county judges on countless occasions. Moreover, I enjoy representing the wrongfully accused because I am passionate about fighting for people's constitutional rights. Most importantly, I have had serious criminal cases dismissed and won at jury trial.
I am eager to help you and confident that I will help you resolve these charges in a manner that is favorable to you and will help you move forward with your life. If you decide to hire me I will carefully listen to your side of the story, personally answer your calls, return calls promptly, and will personally handle all aspects of your burglary case with careful attention to every detail.
Please contact me at 570-371-3737 if you have any questions. I would like to discuss your burglary case with you and meet you in person. I offer a free consultation and can visit you upon your request. My fees for burglary cases are very reasonable and payment plans (including credit card payment) can be arranged.