Understanding a Syracuse Burglary Charge

The core concept of a burglary is well known to most people. Any time someone illegally enters a building with the intent to commit a crime, it is considered a burglary. Specifically, this is defined as Burglary in the Third Degree under New York Penal Law §140.20.

How Burglary is Defined in Syracuse

According to this definition, the prosecutor must prove two things in order to achieve a conviction. First, they must prove that the defendant knowingly entered a building when they did not have permission. In fact, this in and of itself is the legal definition of a trespass. What separates a trespass from a burglary is the reason that said trespasser enters the building.

To that end, the prosecutor in a burglary case must also prove that the defendant entered the building with the intent to commit a crime. To prove this, prosecutors typically rely on circumstantial evidence such as:

  • The time of day of the entry
  • How the defendant entered the building
  • If the defendant broke in
  • Any items in the possession of the defendant at the time of the entry
Potential Penalties

A conviction for Burglary in the Third Degree is a class D felony. However, burglary charges can become much more serious depending on the presence or absence of certain aggravating factors.

Under NYPL §140.25, you may be charged with Burglary in the Second Degree if the building you allegedly entered was a dwelling, such as a house or apartment. It can also apply if you were in possession of a deadly weapon or explosive. Finally, this statute applies if you inflict any physical harm upon a non-participant in the crime. A conviction here is a class C felony.

The most severe version of burglary under New York Penal Law is Burglary in the First Degree. According to NYPL §140.30, this combines the two aggravating factors in Burglary in the Second Degree. If you enter a dwelling armed with a weapon, this statute applies. Convictions here are class B felonies.

These aggravating factors also apply if two or more people commit the burglary. For example, if you are accused of holding a gun while allegedly breaking into a store, but your accomplice is not, both of you may be held legally responsible for the weapon. Subsequently, both of you may be charged with Burglary in the Second Degree.

Work with a Syracuse Burglary Attorney Today

Charges of burglary are treated as serious matters in Syracuse’s courts. Even the most basic level of this charge is a felony that could result in over a year in prison after a conviction. Because of this, it could be important to give yourself the best possible chances for success.

Hiring a Syracuse burglary lawyer could provide the vital advantage that you need in court, especially if you retain one from Tully Rinckey PLLC. Contact our trial-hardened legal team today at (315) 492-4700 to see what options may be available to you, or email for more information.

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