Is Burglary a Theft Crime
Most people associate the crime of Burglary with theft. Burglary can
involve theft, but not necessarily as we shall see.
burglaries are committed in houses. However, this offense can be
committed in any structure designed for use as a dwelling or just
about any building, railroad car, aircraft, or any room. If you
enter any of these places without the owner's authority and with the
intent to commit a felony or theft in that place, you've committed
the crime of Burglary.
simply enter someone's house without their authority and you did not
commit a theft or felony, at worst you are guilty of
criminal trespass, which is a misdemeanor.
mind that Burglary is a separate and distinct offense from the
underlying offense that made it a burglary and not a criminal
trespass. For example, if you entered the location and took some
property, the theft itself makes an arguably criminal trespass
offense into a burglary. You could be tried and sentenced on both
the burglary charge and the theft charge. The burglary is a felony
while the theft could be prosecuted as either a
misdemeanor or a felony,
depending upon the value of the items taken.
example of how a seemingly innocuous act could be a burglary is as
follows. Assume a judge has issued a restraining order against you.
The order restrains you from contacting your wife. You show up at
her residence and go inside. This is a violation of the restraining
order. It also means you can be charged with the crime of
aggravated stalking, a felony. Because aggravated
stalking is a felony, you can now be charged with burglary.
two instances above, if convicted of the burglary and the underlying
offense, you could be received a prison term on both convictions.
For a first
offense you can receive a sentence of 1-20 years.
second offense you can receive a sentence of 2-20 years.
third offense you can receive a sentence of 5-20 years.
OCGA § 16-7-1
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