Chester County Burglary Attorney

Criminal cases in Chester County are handled by the Court of Common Pleas. Burglary is one of the common offenses. Offenders charged with burglary in Pennsylvania are most commonly white males (66%) that are not Hispanic. Offenders are most commonly between the ages of 20 and 29, followed by those between 30 and 39. The chart below shows that relative to the national average, Pennsylvania has a low number of burglary cases. 

Burglary Offenses (2017)

Rate (per 100,000 people)

Total

United States

430.4

1,401,840

Pennsylvania

250.3

32,057

Understanding Burglary Offenses

Pennsylvania Code defines the offense as one where a person intentionally:

  • Enters a “building or occupied structure” that is designed for overnight occupancy and either tries, threatens to, or commits bodily harm
  • Enters a “building or occupied structure” that is designed for overnight occupancy when there is an occupant present inside
  • Enters a “building or occupied structure” that is not designed for overnight occupancy when there is an occupant present inside
  • Enters a “building or occupied structure” that is not designed for overnight occupancy when there is no occupant present inside

The crime of burglary is generally a first-degree felony offense unless the structure is not designed for overnight occupancy and no occupant is present. In this scenario, the charge is a second-degree felony offense. If the intent of the alleged offender is to obtain a controlled substance, then the crime is always charged as a first-degree offense.

The provisions define the term occupied structure as being a building or vehicle designed for overnight occupancy, or a business, regardless of whether a person is present inside. Burglary is inherently associated with another crime because the reason for entering the premises is intent to commit a crime. The alleged offender may not be charged with multiple offenses unless the other offense is a first or second-degree felony.

Distinction Between Burglary and Criminal Trespassing

The offense of criminal trespass (§ 3503) occurs when someone enters the premises despite knowing that they are prohibited from doing so.  Access to the structure is obtained either through some “subterfuge” or by discreetly remaining within the structure during a time when they are prohibited from being there. The crime is generally a felony of the third-degree; however, when access is gained by use of force (“breaking into”) or by intimidating someone it is elevated to a second-degree offense.

Distinction Between Burglary and Robbery

Robbery (§ 3701) is a different from a burglary in several ways. A robbery always occurs while committing an act of theft. It also always involves a threat of force or violence, infliction of bodily injury, or a demand. A demand commonly occurs when an individual enters a bank or similar institution and communicates with an employee verbally or in writing.

Felony Penalties

A third-degree felony offense is punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine. A second-degree felony is punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $25,000 fine. A first-degree felony is punishable by up to twenty years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Having Seasoned Legal Defense Counsel

Felony offenses such as burglary can lead to years of prison time if convicted. Those who are charged with such a crime should secure the services of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Your attorney may challenge the merits of the charges, the admissibility of evidence, and take other actions to defend you.

Attorney for Defense of Burglary Charges

Joseph D. Lento is an experienced defense attorney in Chester County. He will aggressively defend against the alleged offenses and seek to minimize penalties. For a case consultation, contact the office at (888) 535-3686.

Contact Us Today!

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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania and New Jersey attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, Outside of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance is educational advice, and does not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

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