In Utah in 2015, over 1,100 people were arrested for burglary, which is one of the most serious crimes a defendant can be prosecuted for. The penalties for a burglary conviction in Utah can be extremely harsh, and have long-lasting negative consequences for many years to come.
If you have been charged with burglary in Utah, or if one of your family members was arrested for burglary in Salt Lake City, it is extremely important for you to contact a skilled and experienced defense lawyer immediately. For a free legal consultation with Salt Lake City burglary defense attorney Darwin Overson, contact the law offices of Overson & Sheen right away at (801) 895-3143.
How is Burglary Defined in Utah?
Every crime in Utah is defined by a legal statute within the Utah Criminal Code. In order for a prosecutor to prove that a defendant is guilty, the prosecutor has to show that the defendant committed the actions described in the statute defining the crime. If the prosecutor cannot prove that the defendant’s alleged actions match the legal definition of burglary in Utah, the defendant cannot be convicted of burglary. For this reason, it’s important for defendants and their loved ones to understand how burglary is defined under the Utah burglary statute, which is Utah Code § 76-6-202.
Under Utah Code § 76-6-202, a person is charged with burglary when, allegedly, he or she “enters or remains unlawfully in a building,” or any part of a building, with intent to commit any felony (such as rape or kidnapping), or any of the following crimes:
- Lewdness Involving a Child
- Sexual Battery
Related Offenses: Aggravated Burglary, Robbery, Theft, and Trespassing
Several crimes are closely related to burglary. These offenses include:
- Aggravated Burglary – Aggravated burglary is even more serious than a burglary charge, because it is burglary plus additional elements. A person is charged with aggravated burglary when they allegedly commit burglary and injure someone or use, attempt to use, or threaten to use a dangerous weapon such as a gun, knife, or explosive.
- Robbery – Robbery involves using force or fear to physically take property away from another person, such as mugging someone and stealing their purse or wallet.
- Theft– There are many forms of theft in Utah, such as shoplifting (retail theft), theft of services, and possession of stolen property.
- Trespassing– Trespassing, or criminal trespass, is a common allegation against teenagers. Trespassing involves unlawfully entering a property with intent to spray graffiti, to “cause annoyance or injury,” or to commit a crime “other than theft or a felony.”
Our Utah criminal defense law firm defends adults and juveniles charged with burglary and related offenses, including aggravated burglary, theft, robbery, and criminal trespass.
Is Burglary a Felony Charge in Utah?
Minor crimes are classified as misdemeanors, while more serious offenses are classified as felonies. While both can lead to fines, incarceration, and other penalties, which are explained in detail in the section below, the consequences of a felony are especially devastating. In addition to carrying higher fines and longer sentences than misdemeanors, a felony conviction will also give the defendant a felony record, which can make it extremely difficult or even impossible to get hired for certain jobs, qualify for certain loans, or purchase or possess a firearm.
While some crimes can be prosecuted as misdemeanor or felonies, burglary is always a felony charge in Utah, making it one of the most serious offenses a person can be accused of committing. Aggravated burglary is also always charged as a felony.
Utah Burglary Penalties: Prison Sentencing and Criminal Fines
While burglary is always charged as a felony, some burglary offenses are more serious than others, and therefore, carry greater penalties if the defendant is convicted. That is because there are different levels of felony charges. The details of the alleged burglary will determine how the offense is classified – and in turn, the penalties that may result from a conviction.
Generally speaking, burglary is prosecuted as a third degree felony, which is one level above a misdemeanor in Utah. However, it can be prosecuted as a second degree felony, which is more serious, in cases where the defendant allegedly burgled a “dwelling,” meaning somebody’s home, condo, or apartment. Aggravated burglary is always a first degree felony, which is the most serious type of crime under Utah’s penal code. For example, murder and rape are first degree felonies.
Judges have some discretion over how to sentence a convicted defendant, but must abide by the maximum limits set by state law. The maximum penalties for burglary felonies in Utah include the following fines and prison sentences:
- Third Degree Felony (Burglary)
- Sentencing – Up to 5 years in prison
- Fine – Up to $5,000
- Second Degree Felony (Burglary of a Dwelling)
- Sentencing – 1 to 15 years in prison
- Fine – Up to $10,000
- First Degree Felony (Aggravated Burglary)
- Sentencing – 5 years to life in prison
- Fine – Up to $10,000
Salt Lake City Burglary Attorney Handling Felony Cases
Criminal defense attorney Darwin Overson has over 16 years of experience representing adults and juveniles charged with burglary in Salt Lake City and other areas of Utah, including Bountiful, Cedar City, Draper, Kaysville, Layton, Lehi, Logan, Midvale, Millcreek, Murray, Ogden, Orem,Provo, Riverton, Roy, Sandy, South Jordan, St. George, Taylorsville, Tooele, West Jordan, West Valley City, and more.
Darwin is a fierce proponent of criminal justice, and will fight aggressively to make sure that your Constitutional rights are protected throughout every stage of your case. He will work to minimize the consequences you face, or even have you case dismissed altogether.
To give yourself the best chance of beating the charges, you need to seek legal representation as soon as possible. For a free legal consultation regarding you or your loved one’s burglary charges in Utah, or if you even suspect that you or a family member is being investigated for burglary, call Utah burglary lawyer Darwin Overson right away at (801) 895-3143.