D.C. Burglary Law
D.C. Burglary Attorneys
In Washington DC, burglary lawyers are available to assist individuals in defending against burglary or breaking and entering charges, whether at the local or federal level. Understanding the nuances of burglary in Washington DC can be complex, as it necessitates the intent to commit a crime at the time of entering another person’s dwelling. Unlawful entry can occur in two ways: without the permission of the property owner or occupant, or through the use of force. It is important to note that proving the use of force is not required to establish the occurrence of a burglary.
Comparatively, burglary laws in Washington DC are less intricate than those in Maryland and Virginia. For instance, Maryland classifies burglary into four degrees and includes various conditional offenses related to burglary tools, burglary with explosives, and burglarizing a research facility. In contrast, Washington DC divides burglary into two degrees: first and second. Although this distinction exists, it does not diminish the seriousness of burglary charges. With the assistance of a knowledgeable Washington DC burglary lawyer, individuals can mount a defense against the charges or potentially negotiate plea agreements to reduce felony burglary charges to lesser offenses.
DC Burglary Laws
Washington DC has specific burglary laws outlined in DC § 22-801, which prohibit any attempt to enter a dwelling, whether occupied or unoccupied, with or without the use of force. To establish intent in a burglary case, the prosecution assigned to the case must prove the following elements:
- The defendant entered a dwelling, structure, or room intended for another person’s sleeping use.
- At the time of entry, the defendant intended to commit another crime during or following the entry.
To establish intent, the prosecution will rely on circumstantial evidence. For instance, burglary charges can be based on evidence such as possession of burglary tools, forced entry into the dwelling, or statements made by the defendant before or after the entry indicating the intention to commit another crime. It is important to have a Washington DC burglary attorney who can thoroughly examine the evidence against you, ensuring that it was lawfully obtained and legitimate.
First Degree Burglary
According to DC § 22-801, first-degree burglary is defined as the act of forcibly entering a dwelling or a room used for sleeping purposes while it is occupied by any individual, regardless of whether they are the property owner or not. To establish guilt in a first-degree burglary case, the District must prove that the defendant unlawfully entered the dwelling with the intention to take any item or object or to commit another criminal offense. A conviction for first-degree burglary can result in a prison sentence ranging from five to 30 years.
Previously, DC § 22-801 categorized burglary as a breaking and entering offense that occurred specifically during nighttime. However, the law has been amended to encompass daytime burglaries as well.
Second Degree Burglary
Professional burglary attorneys in Washington DC handle the serious and frequently encountered crime of second-degree burglary. One significant distinction between second and first-degree burglary is that second-degree burglary does not necessitate the dwelling to be occupied at the time of the alleged offense. DC § 22-801 encompasses various types of structures that can be charged under Washington DC second-degree burglary laws, including, but not limited to:
- Railroad cars
- Lumber or other goods storage yards
Similar to first-degree burglary, second-degree burglary can occur both during the day and at night. While considered a grave offense in Washington DC, second-degree burglary carries a relatively lesser potential sentence compared to first-degree burglary, ranging from a minimum of two years’ imprisonment to a maximum of 15 years. Second-degree burglary can be proven irrespective of whether the building was occupied during the crime, making it the common charge for commercial burglary, such as breaking into a bank or business to facilitate or commit another crime, such as theft.
Breaking and Entering Vending Machines and Comparable Devices
Experienced burglary attorneys in Washington DC are well-versed in handling the serious and frequently encountered crime of second-degree burglary. Unlike first-degree burglary, second-degree burglary does not require the dwelling to be occupied at the time of the alleged offense. Washington DC’s legal code, specifically DC § 22-801, encompasses various types of structures that can be subject to second-degree burglary charges. These include banks, stores, railroad cars, lumber or goods storage yards, and watercraft, among others.
Similar to first-degree burglary, second-degree burglary can occur both during the day and at night. Although it is considered a significant offense in Washington DC, second-degree burglary carries a less severe potential sentence compared to first-degree burglary. Those convicted of second-degree burglary may face a minimum imprisonment term of two years and a maximum term of 15 years. Second-degree burglary charges can be applied regardless of whether the building was occupied at the time of the crime. Therefore, it is a common charge for incidents of commercial burglary, such as breaking into a bank or business with the intent to commit or facilitate another crime, such as theft.