According to Arizona law, burglary can occur at three different degrees: first-, second- and third. All three degrees qualify as victim crimes that require special consideration by law. No matter which degree it occurs in, burglary remains classified as a felony offense and could subject you to potential prison time.
Burglary charges often accompany other offenses, like trespassing, and may carry harsher punishment if prior convictions exist. When facing burglary charges, having superior legal representation on your side to protect your interests can make all the difference. We will explain all relevant laws and penalties associated with burglary as well as offer guidance if this charge has been filed against you.
Burglary Laws in Mesa
If you unlawfully enter a property with the intention of committing a crime, even without theft occurring, you could be charged with burglary regardless. Burglarizing residential properties is typically seen as a more serious offense than unlawfully entering commercial ones, while not being locked out or presence of people inside is not required in order for someone to receive this charge. Let’s examine each category further:
First-degree burglary in Arizona occurs when someone unlawfully enters or remains within a residential structure with the intent to commit theft or commit a felony and is equipped with either a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. Depending on the circumstances surrounding each instance of first-degree burglary, its classification varies accordingly:
Burglaries committed against residential properties are classified as class 2 felonies; when committed against nonresidential structures or commercial yards they are classified as class 3 felonies.
Second Degree Burglary
Burglary in the second degree happens when someone unlawfully remains in or enters into a residential structure and intends to commit theft or a felony offense. Second-degree burglary is a class 3 felony crime.
Third Degree Burglary
Third-degree burglary in Arizona refers to unlawfully entering or remaining within an enclosed yard, building, vehicle, or other structure for the intent of theft or another criminal act. A master or manipulation key used to enter motor vehicles does not fall within this definition of third-degree burglary under Arizona law.
Possession of Burglary Tools
Possessing burglary tools is a class 6 felony. If law enforcement suspects you of planning burglary and finds utility tools or similar instruments in your possession, even without unlawfully entering any property, then they could charge you with “possessing burglary tools.”
Penalties for Burglary in Mesa
Burglary convictions in Arizona can have severe repercussions, including significant fines and restitution orders, long-term criminal records, potential property forfeiture orders and imprisonment sentences based on the degree and other circumstances surrounding the crime. Penalties depend on various factors related to each burglary incident as well as factors related to each offense committed against other people or property.
First-degree burglary carries a prison sentence between seven to 21 years; second-degree burglary may result in imprisonment of two to 8.75 years; third-degree burglary can result in one to 3.75 years; possession of burglary tools can result in up to two year’s incarceration.
In general, the penalties in a burglary case depend upon various factors including aggravating or mitigating circumstances, violence and the value of stolen property (if applicable), damage done to burglarized properties during their invasion, use of weapons during burglary attempts and prior criminal records of perpetrators as well as victims involved.
Defenses for Burglary in Mesa
Burglary is always a felony crime in Arizona and comes with serious long-term penalties if you receive a conviction. If you decide to work with a burglary lawyer in Mesa, they could use a variety of defenses to challenge your charges. Asserting that the crime had a lack of valid or sufficient evidence or that you didn’t intend to commit the crime may help you receive a reduced charge.
Showing that the case involved a mistaken fact, Miranda Rights violation, or unwarranted search may also support a reduced or dismissed sentence. If you were arrested without probable cause, had your constitutional rights violated, or the police on the case mishandled evidence, it may also help your defense.
Keep in mind that burglary is a felony offense, no matter which category it falls into. If you’ve been charged with burglary in Mesa, it’s important that you speak with a skilled criminal lawyer.
JacksonWhite Law in Mesa, Arizona
JacksonWhite Law has been serving clients in the Mesa area since 1983. We offer a full range of legal assistance and have plenty of experience navigating cases just like yours with great success. As one of the biggest firms in the East Valley, we work to provide advanced, insightful legal solutions to families, businesses, and individuals throughout the state of Arizona.
From fines, to probation and jail time, being in legal trouble is no laughing matter. It could harm your opportunities in life and even make it harder to find a place to live. Speak with one of our skilled lawyers today to get answers to your questions and to protect your future.
JacksonWhite Mesa Office
Our Mesa office is on the northwest corner of W. Pepper and N. Center Street. You may park on Pepper or in the parking garage nearby.
The Mesa city court is located on the northwest corner of Pomeroy Street and 1st Avenue. You’ll find a public parking garage behind the building, which you can access from Pomeroy or Main Street.
Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 418-4281 to discuss your case today.