Burglary Charges in Maine
Serving the Augusta, Bangor, Biddeford, Portland and Saco Regions
In order for an offense to be charged as burglary, the offender must enter or surreptitiously remain in a building that they are not allowed to be in with the intent of committing a crime. A building can be anything from a business to a home to a school or even a public park after closing hours. The offender does not have to forcibly enter the structure either. For example, if you forget to lock your car and later find that someone entered it and took your stereo; that is a form of burglary. Unlike robbery, burglaries do not require anyone to be present. In fact, most burglaries occur when a building is unoccupied.
Another unique aspect of burglary is that nothing actually has to be taken. All that matters is the intent to commit and crime and the illegal entrance. So in a situation where a person enters a home but is then scared away by a dog or home alarm system, they could be found guilty of burglary because they broke into your house with the intent to steal. The one caveat to this rule is that some form on entry must have taken place. If the person only breaks a window to your house and then runs off, this will not be considered burglary. However, if the person breaks a window and then sticks their arm through to try and open the front door before running off, this could be considered burglary.
A person also has to enter a valid structure to be charged with burglary in Maine. A structure is generally anything that can house people or animals or that is capable of sheltering property. For example, a garage is considered a structure, but a fenced in area is likely not. Also, the structure must be closed to the public at the time of entry. It is impossible for a burglary to occur in a store during business hours. The laws pertaining to burglaries assume that the building being entered is a business or public structure. For these crimes, you will face Class C charges. However, if it is a home that is being broken into, the crime becomes a Class B offense, the second most serious classification.
Maine Burglary Defense
Burglary is the crime also known as ‘breaking and entering'. It involves the unlawful entrance into a home or business. The important thing to remember about burglary charges is that you do not have to have taken anything in order to receive charges. As long as you were aware that you were not authorized to enter and occupy the structure, you can be charged with burglary for the simple act of being on the premises. Maine's burglary law states:
Theft crimes are very serious offenses as most are charged as felonies and a conviction can lead to jail time, fines, probation and more. Many burglary crimes are serious felonies and can result in Class A, B or C charges. The sentences for such crimes range from 5 years to 30 years in jail and fines from $5,000 to $25,000. If you have prior felony convictions, the penalties will be even steeper. It is vital that you contact an experienced Maine criminal attorney as soon as you are arrested for a burglary offense.
Maine Burglary Penalties
There are several aspects that can make a burglary charge even more serious. For example, if the person entering the building is armed with a weapon, the charges will move from a Class C violation to a Class B. If that weapon is a firearm, the burglary charge will move all the way to a Class A offense. If the person entering the home inflicts injury or any type of violent act while they are inside the premise, the crime will be treated as a Class B offense. If the defendant has 2 or more Class A, B or C criminal convictions on their record, the offense will be charged as a Class B as well.
Maximum penalties for the classifications of burglary crimes are as follows:
- Class C: Crimes punishable by up to 5 years incarceration and a $5,000 fine
- Class B: Crimes punishable by up to ten years incarceration and a $20,000 fine
- Class A: Crimes punishable by up to 30 years incarceration and a $50,000 fine
Burglary charges are particularly serious when a weapon is involved. If you are accused of breaking and entering while being armed, you will face Class A charges which are the most serious charges in the State of Maine. Even if you are an accomplice to another who is armed, you could still be charged with a Class B crime. In addition, if you break into a home or injured someone in the process, you will also face Class B charges. If you take items of value from the premises or commit some other crime, you will be charged with that crime and burglary charges.
If you have been accused of Burglary or charged with the crime, you need an experienced defense attorney who can fight for your rights. Contact our offices today to speak with a lawyer. We can help you!