According to Arizona law, burglary can happen in the first, second, or third degree, with the first degree being the most severe. A burglary charge qualifies as a “victim crime,” meaning the law takes it very seriously. No matter what degree the offense is, burglary is classed as a felony and will expose you to potential prison time.
Burglary is often charged alongside other crimes, such as trespassing, and may result in harsher penalties if you have prior convictions. If you’re dealing with a burglary charge, you’ll want superior legal defense on your side to protect your interests. We’ll explain the laws and penalties on burglary, followed by information on what to do if you’ve received this charge.
Burglary Laws in Mesa
If you’re caught unlawfully entering a property, you may be charged with burglary, even if you didn’t steal anything. The law only requires that you intended to steal when you entered. Burglarizing a residential property is considered a more serious crime than unlawfully entering a commercial property. It’s not necessary that someone was in the building or that the building was locked in order to receive a burglary charge. Let’s look closer at each category of this crime:
First-degree burglary occurs when someone (including an accomplice) knowingly possesses a dangerous instrument, deadly weapon, or explosive while committing a felony or theft. If the crime involves a residential structure, it’s a class 2 felony. First-degree burglary in a residential or fenced commercial yard or nonresidential structure is a class 3 felony.
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 occurs when someone unlawfully remains in a fenced residential or commercial yard or a nonresidential structure intending to commit theft or a felony offense. You may also receive this charge if you use a master or manipulation key to enter a motor vehicle (any part) intending to commit a theft or felony crime. Third-degree burglary counts as a class 4 felony.
Possession of Burglary Tools
In Arizona, possessing burglary tools is a class 6 felony crime. If the police suspect that you intend to commit burglary and find a utility tool or similar instrument in your possession, you could receive a “possession of burglary tools” charge. Keep in mind that you may get this charge, even if you never unlawfully entered a property.
Penalties for Burglary in Mesa
Burglary may come with exorbitant fees and fines, restitution, a long-term criminal record, property forfeiture, and time in prison. First-degree burglary carries a penalty of between seven and 21 years in prison, and second-degree burglary comes with a term of two to 8.75 years of incarceration. For third-degree burglary, you may get between a year and up to 3.75 years in prison, while burglary tool possession comes with up to two years behind bars.
The penalties that apply to a burglary conviction will depend on aggravated or mitigating factors, the nature of the crime, and whether it involved violence. The court will also consider the property stolen (if applicable) during the burglary, look at damage to the burglarized property from forced entry, and check to see if you used a weapon.
Whether you have a criminal record, whether the crime had any victims, and which other offenses were committed along with the burglary will also play a role in sentencing. Note that burglarizing residential properties comes with more severe consequences than commercial buildings.
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) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.