Experienced legal representation is critical when faced with criminal charges. That is especially true when the defendant has been accused of an aggravated offense. In Utah, aggravated crimes like aggravated burglary are always categorized as felonies, which have much harsher penalties than misdemeanors.
If you or one of your family members has been arrested for aggravated burglary in Salt Lake City, West Valley City, West Jordan, South Jordan, Sandy, Draper, Riverton, or other areas, criminal defense lawyer Darwin Overson can help. With over 16 years of experience representing defendants accused of serious felonies, Darwin knows what it takes to fight these complex charges. To set up a free legal consultation, call the law offices of Overson Law as soon as possible at (801) 758-2287.
What is the Difference Between Burglary and Aggravated Burglary Charges?
Many criminal offenses have an “aggravated” version which is more serious than the non-aggravated version. Some examples include robbery and aggravated robbery, assault and aggravated assault, and murder and aggravated murder. The same applies to burglary and aggravated burglary.
Burglary and aggravated burglary are separate crimes: burglary is prosecuted under Utah Code § 76-6-202, whereas aggravated burglary is prosecuted under Utah Code § 76-6-203. Put simply, aggravated burglary is burglary plus additional elements that make the charge more serious. Therefore, in order to understand what aggravated burglary means, it’s necessary to understand how burglary is defined.
A person is charged with burglary for allegedly “enter[ing] or remain[ing] unlawfully in a building… with intent to commit” any felony, or any of the following offenses:
- Assault – Utah Code § 76-5-102
- Lewdness – Utah Code § 76-9-702
- Lewdness Involving a Child – Utah Code § 76-9-702.5
- Sexual Battery – Utah Code § 76-9-702.1
- Theft – Utah Code § 76-6-404
- Voyeurism – Utah Code § 76-9-702.7
The charges become aggravated when a person commits burglary and either:
- Injures someone other than a person involved in committing the crime.
- Uses, or threatens to use, a weapon against a person other than someone involved in committing the crime.
- Possesses, or tries to use, any weapon or explosive. This could include pistols, revolvers, shotguns, handguns, machine guns, assault weapons, knives, switchblades, or other weapons.
Utah Aggravated Burglary Penalties: Criminal Fines and Prison Sentencing
Burglary is a serious crime to begin with, and the aggravated version is an even greater offense. A defendant who is convicted of aggravated burglary can be sentenced to more prison time and higher fines than a defendant who is convicted of burglary.
There are three types of felonies in Utah: third degree felonies, second degree felonies, and first degree felonies. Utah Code § 76-6-203(2) makes aggravated burglary a first degree felony, the most serious type of non-capital offense under Utah’s criminal laws.
The consequences of a first degree felony conviction are devastating. In Utah, a defendant who is convicted of a first degree felony, such as aggravated burglary, may be sentenced to anywhere from five years in prison to a life sentence. He or she may also be fined as much as $10,000, not counting additional restitution that may be ordered as a means of compensating the crime victim for their medical bills, property damage, and/or other expenses arising from the offense.
A person who is charged with aggravated burglary may also be charged with a lesser, though still serious, offense called possession of burglar’s tools (“manufacture or possession of instrument for burglary or theft”). Some examples of objects that can be interpreted as burglary tools include crowbars, bolt cutters, and lock picks. However, many “burglar’s tools” have innocent uses, such as screwdrivers. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the tool was actually intended for use in the commission of a burglary or aggravated burglary.
Possession of burglary tools is a Class B misdemeanor, which can lead to a maximum jail sentence of six months and a maximum fine of $1,000.
Contact a Salt Lake City Aggravated Burglary Defense Attorney for a Free Consultation
If you, your spouse, a family member, or other loved one has been arrested for aggravated burglary or possession of burglar’s tools, experienced legal representation is critical. These charges can result in extremely serious consequences, including the risk of life imprisonment. Representation by a skilled and aggressive aggravated burglary defense attorney gives you the greatest chance of beating the charges and resuming your normal life with your friends and family.
It is vital that you do not delay if you or a loved one has been arrested for aggravated burglary or related offenses. The sooner you consult with a criminal attorney, like Darwin Overson of Overson Law, the sooner we can begin assessing your legal situation and the potential defense strategies that may be applicable in your case.
Our law firm handles criminal cases in Summit County, Wasatch County, Utah County, Tooele County, Box Elder County, Cache County, Rich County, Morgan County, Weber County, Davis County, Duchesne County, and throughout the state of Utah. Call the law offices of Overson Law at (801) 758-2287 as soon as possible for a free and confidential legal consultation.