In Maryland, burglary is a serious offense that often results in a felony conviction with significant jail time. A burglary conviction can alter your life and tarnish your reputation. If you are being investigated for burglary or were officially charged with a crime in this statute, it is imperative that you seek counsel from an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Today, we will take a look at how burglary is defined under Maryland state law, explain the different degrees of burglary, and assess the best ways to handle being accused of burglary so that you can be well informed about your decisions towards the accusations at hand.
Burglary Under Maryland State Law
The term burglary typically refers to the illegal entry into a building or structure (not limited to businesses or homes) with the intent to commit a crime therein. Burglaries are classified into four degrees in Maryland, ranging from a fourth-degree misdemeanor to a felony first-degree.
Although Maryland’s burglary statutes have significantly evolved over the years, state law still stipulates that there must be a breaking and entering to bring about burglary charges. Traditionally, “breaking and entering” implied forcible entry into a dwelling. Today, breaking and entering don’t require force, and any unauthorized entry onto a structure can constitute burglary.
Maryland Burglary Laws
Maryland has specific laws governing burglary, organized by degree.
First Degree Burglary
Maryland’s criminal code 6-202 states that breaking into a dwelling with the intent to steal or commit violence is illegal. First-degree burglary is a felony-level offense punishable by up to 20 years in prison if there was an intent to commit theft or 25 years if there was an intent to commit an act of violence.
Second Degree Burglary
According to the Maryland criminal code 6-203, persons cannot enter into someone else’s storehouse with the intent of stealing, committing violence, or committing arson. This code also covers the intent to steal or take away a firearm. Individuals found guilty of violating this criminal code can face a maximum of 15 years in prison, or no more than 20 years, and a $10,000 fine if found guilty of trying to steal or take away a firearm.
Third Degree Burglary
Maryland criminal code 6-204 specifies that it is illegal to bring and enter into a dwelling or structure with the intention to commit any crime. A first-degree burglary needs proof of intent to commit a violent crime or theft, while a third-degree burglary only needs evidence of intent to commit another type of crime. Third-degree burglary is a felony conviction that carries a maximum of ten years prison sentence.
Maryland’s criminal code 6-205 outlines the laws on fourth-degree burglary. This code states that it is illegal to break and enter another person’s dwelling, while part (B) explains that It is unlawful to break and enter a storehouse. Part (C) states that it is unlawful to be in the yard, garden, or other areas of another individual’s dwelling with the intent to steal.
It is illegal to possess burglary tools that can be used to break into someone else’s dwelling under the provisions of criminal code 6-205. Burglary in the fourth degree is a misdemeanor punishable by up to three years in prison.
Other Types of Burglary in Maryland
Motor Vehicle Burglary
There are also specific laws that address motor vehicle burglary in Maryland. According to the Maryland criminal code 6-206, it is against the law to break into a motor vehicle to steal the vehicle or anything inside it. This code also makes possessing burglary tools to use to break into a vehicle a crime. Motor vehicle burglary is a misdemeanor punishable by up to three years in prison if found guilty.
Burglary With A Destructive Device
Burglary with a destructive device involves opening or attempting to break open a vault, safe, or a similar storage device with a destructive device or weapon. Pipe bombs, poison gas, flame throwers, grenades, or any other type of explosive material is considered a destructive device according to Maryland code 4-501. A person convicted of burglary with a destructive device faces up to twenty years in prison. The defendant might receive a separate sentence for the crime committed that led to the violation of this code.
Widder Law – The Best Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing burglary charges in Maryland, it’s important to secure the best criminal defense, especially if law enforcement believes that there was an intent to commit a crime or you were accused of using a destructive device. An excellent criminal lawyer can help answer questions that you may have and formulate a defense strategy to get the charges dropped, obtain a plea bargain, or take the case to trial.
The best defense is a good offense. Therefore, as soon as there is an accusation of a criminal charge, it is crucial that you have an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. Select someone who is knowledgeable in your specific charge and defense.
Jeremy Widder Law is a Maryland-based law firm specializing in protective orders and minor offenses, substance-related offenses, property crimes and non-violent felonies, as well as major offenses and violent felonies.
Getting charged with a crime can be scary. You want someone who will listen and be your advocate. We are committed to walking with you from start to finish and giving your unique case the attention it deserves.
Contact us today and let us fight for your future.