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
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.