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What Is a Burglary Charge?

Interviewer: In comparison to burglary, what is burglary versus robbery?

Adam: Burglary is when anybody, either by force, stealth, or deception, attempts to break into an occupied structure. An occupied structure just means it’s somebody’s dwelling. It doesn’t have to be occupied at the time that they did it.

Interviewer: Could an occupied structure be a car?

Adam: No. It would be a place where a person could normally be found to reside. It could be a hotel.

Interviewer: Burglary is mostly confined to dwellings. Right?

Adam: Yes, that is right.

Interviewer: You mentioned the structure needs to be an occupied dwelling. What about an unoccupied one? Does occupy mean that people normally live there, whether they’re present, or not, at the time? Or does it just mean they have to be there?

Adam: They don’t have to be there at the time that the person attempts to break in. It just has to be occupied somewhat regularly.

Interviewer: So, it constitutes the normal course of use of a building is that it’s usually occupied, even though it’s not occupied at the time of the crime, it’s still considered burglary because it’s normally occupied?

Adam: Yes, that is right.

Interviewer: A break-in to an abandoned warehouse, or building is not likely to be charged as a burglary, or would it be?

Adam: It would be charged under breaking and entering.

Interviewer: Is that a lesser charge than burglary?

Adam: Yes, it is. It comes into play more often than not. Inside abandoned buildings, copper thieves are fairly predominant in our area, to a degree.

Interviewer: Does burglary mean you have to enter a structure, or are you just trespassing on premises and you have the intent to commit a crime, or take something? A copper thief may not have to enter a structure to steal copper, for instance, so are they still committing a burglary because they’re on premises and they’re trespassing?

Adam: At that point and time, they’re going to get charged with criminal trespass, which would be the next related crime.

By Adam Hunt

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