Many people use the terms burglary, robbery, and theft interchangeably. However, each is a different crime with a different definition. As a defendant or defendant’s loved one, it is vital that you have a clear understanding of the accusations being made. The quick and simplified explanation of the difference between burglary, robbery, and theft is that:
- Burglary involves entering a property in order to commit a crime.
- Robbery involves using force or violence to physically take property away from a person.
- Theft is a broad term that covers shoplifting, extortion, identity theft, and many other forms of stealing that don’t meet the legal definition of burglary or robbery.
If you have been charged with burglary in Salt Lake City, you could be facing over a decade in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. You need to move quickly and start reviewing your legal situation with a highly experienced defense lawyer in Salt Lake City. Call Utah burglary attorney Darwin Overson at (801) 758-2287 to set up a free, confidential legal consultation today.
What Happens When You Are Arrested for Burglary in Utah?
Burglary is defined under Utah Code § 76-6-202 to mean “enter[ing] or remain[ing] unlawfully in a building… with intent to commit” any felony, or any of the following crimes:
- Lewdness Involving a Child
- Sexual Battery
Every element of a burglary arrest and detention should be closely examined and questioned by a skilled criminal defense attorney, because it’s possible the suspect’s Constitutional rights were violated. Police must have probable cause in order to make a warrantless arrest, and must read the suspect his or her Miranda Rights once he or she is in custody. Furthermore, burglary suspects should not be detained for any longer than 72 hours if criminal charges have not been filed.
A person in custody can typically be released from the county jail or detention center by posting a payment called bail. You can post bail on your loved one’s behalf. Most of Utah’s county jails list specific rules for posting bail on their websites. If the bail amount is too expensive, it may be possible to obtain a bail reduction, qualify for free bail called Release on Recognizance (ROR), or use a bond for a fraction of the full bail cost.
Possession of Burglar’s Tools
The alleged act of burglary isn’t the only charge a defendant faces. In addition to being charged with the burglary itself, you could also be charged with a related offense known as “manufacture or possession of instrument for burglary or theft” – in other words, possessing tools used for burglary. Utah Code § 76-6-205 makes possession of burglar’s tools a misdemeanor offense. Penalties for misdemeanors are explained in the next section.
Burglar’s tools are broadly defined to include “any instrument, tool, device, article, or other thing adapted, designed, or commonly used in” committing burglary. This could potentially include:
- Lock Pick Tools
Utah Penalties for Felonies: Criminal Fines and Prison Sentencing
There are two types of criminal offenses in Utah: misdemeanors and felonies. While felonies are subject to longer sentences and heavier fines than misdemeanors, both can lead to incarceration and huge expenses. Both will also result in a criminal record, which can create problems long into your future. With a criminal record attached to your name, you might find it difficult to get hired or to take advantage of other professional, financial, or educational opportunities.
Utah divides felonies and misdemeanors into three groups. Misdemeanors are categorized as Class C, Class B, or Class A, with Class A being the most serious type of misdemeanor offense. Felonies are categorized as third degree, second degree, or first degree, with first degree felonies being the most serious type of felony.
Utah Code § 76-6-202 generally makes burglary a felony of the third degree. However, burglarizing a person’s house or apartment is a second degree felony. Possession of burglar’s tools is a Class B misdemeanor under Utah Code § 76-6-205.
The criminal penalties for a felony or misdemeanor in Utah can be severe, particularly if the defendant has a record of prior offenses or if there were any aggravating factors, such as:
- Using a dangerous weapon.
- Committing a hate crime.
- Committing a crime with help from others.
If you are convicted of burglary or possessing burglary tools in Utah, you could be facing the following criminal penalties:
- Class B Misdemeanor
- Sentence – Up to 6 months in jail
- Fine – Up to $1,000
- Third Degree Felony
- Sentence – Up to 5 years in prison
- Fine – Up to $5,000
- Second Degree Felony
- Sentence – Up to 15 years in prison
- Fine – Up to $10,000
The defendant may also be sentenced to probation and/or community service, and additionally, may be required to pay restitution to the victim(s) of the burglary.
Schedule a Free Legal Consultation with a Utah Criminal Defense Attorney
If your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, or family member was arrested for burglary in Salt Lake City or elsewhere in Utah, it is vitally important to make sure their Constitutional rights are protected by a skilled, knowledgeable, and aggressive burglary lawyer in Salt Lake County. Representation by an experienced defense lawyer can make the difference between getting convicted and returning to your normal life.
Darwin Overson has more than 16 years of experience representing adults and juveniles charged with burglary in counties throughout Utah, including Wasatch County, Summit County, Weber County, Davis County, Morgan County, Tooele County, Box Elder County, and more. To set up a free legal consultation with Darwin, call the law offices of Overson Law right away at (801) 758-2287. Darwin is available to make emergency visits to county jails on short notice.