Arizona’s Burglary Laws


While it is common to hear “robbery” and “burglary” used interchangeably, there is a significant difference between the two. A robbery occurs when a victim is threatened and their property is forcefully taken from them.

Burglary, on the other hand, is when someone intentionally enters a property to commit a theft or felony. Burglary is typically committed in places such as homes, condominiums, apartment complexes, and other residential and nonresidential properties.

In Arizona, there are three degrees of burglary — all of which are felonies — and the penalties for each degree are serious.

Degrees of Burglary in Arizona

Burglary in the first degree is defined by A.R.S. § 13-1508, burglary in the second degree is defined by A.R.S. §13-1507; and burglary in the third degree is defined by A.R.S. §13-1506.

Each level or degree of burglary is slightly different, creating tiers from least severe to most severe.

Third-Degree Burglary – A.R.S. 13-1506

Third-degree burglary is the least severe charge of burglary you can be charged in Arizona. According to A.R.S. §13-1506, an individual commits third-degree burglary if they do any of the following:

  • Enter or remain unlawfully in or on a nonresidential structure or in a fenced commercial or residential yard with the intent to commit any theft or any felony therein;
  • Make an entry into any part of a motor vehicle by means of a manipulation key or master key with the intent to commit any theft or felony in the motor vehicle.

Third-degree burglary is a class four felony in Arizona. Class 4 felonies carry a prison sentence of 1.5 to 3 years. If the burglary is aggravated, the prison sentence extends up to 3.75 years.

Examples of third-degree burglary:

  • breaking into an office to take electronics
  • breaking into a car in order to steal something from a glovebox

Second-Degree Burglary – A.R.S. 13-1507

Second-degree burglary according to A.R.S. §13-1507:

  • entering into a residential structure with the intent of committing a crime inside

Residential structures are places where people live, such as single-family homes, apartment complexes, condos, and townhomes.

Second-degree burglary is a class 3 felony in Arizona. Class 3 felonies are punishable by 2.5 to 7 years in prison or up to 8.75 years if it was an aggravated offense.

The most common example of second-degree burglary in Arizona is a home invasion. Entering into another person’s home with the intent to commit a crime, such as stealing jewelry, electronics, or personal items, is also second-degree burglary.

First-Degree Burglary – A.R.S. 13-1508

First-degree burglary is the most severe form of burglary due to the aggressor being in possession of a weapon — commonly known as “armed burglary”. According to A.R.S. §13-1508, an individual commits first-degree burglary if they break into a commercial property, car, or residential property while knowingly possessing any of the following items:

  • Explosives
  • Knives
  • Guns
  • Hammers
  • Bats
  • Dangerous Instruments*

*This list is not exhaustive, and many other items may be considered a weapon.

First-degree burglary in a nonresidential structure is a class three felony, which carries a prison sentence of 2.5 years to 8.75 years.

First-degree burglary in residential structure is a class 2 felony. Aggravated Class 2 felonies carry a prison sentence of 5 years to 12.5 years.

Get Help From the JacksonWhite Criminal Defense Team

If you or someone you know has been charged with burglary in Arizona, having an experienced Arizona burglary lawyer can mean the difference between the minimum and maximum sentencing. When you work with our award-winning criminal defense team, you get years of experience on your side. Contact our team immediately if you’ve been charged with burglary in Arizona.

Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.

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