The Penalty for Burglary in Utah
Burglary is a serious crime in Utah. Classified as a felony, burglary can be a crime against property or a crime against another person. This distinction helps decide the punishment you will receive. Burglary is often confused with robbery and other theft crimes, but does not need to include a theft. Burglary actually punishes entering a building, making it closer to a severe form of trespass. It can often involve theft, but because burglary can also be a crime against a person, its penalties are quite high in Utah.
If you have been charged with burglary in Utah, talk to an attorney right away. Salt Lake City burglary defense attorney Darwin Overson represents people accused of crimes. Darwin will work to protect your rights, challenge the evidence against you, and work to get charges dropped and penalties reduced.
Definition of Burglary in Utah
The crime of burglary does not actually require theft, as many people think. Burglary, robbery, and theft are often linked together as similar crimes. While theft involves stealing from another, and robbery involves stealing from another using force, burglary can include the crime of breaking into a building to steal. However, Utah’s definition of burglary is broader, and includes other actions as well.
The main part of burglary’s definition is that it is a crime involving trespass, plus another crime. Utah Code § 76-6-202 says that burglary is when someone “enters or remains unlawfully in a building or any portion of a building,” and has the intent to commit another crime. To count as burglary, that other crime must be:
- Any other felony,
- Sexual battery
- Lewdness involving a child, or
The felony you commit in the building could be theft, but it could also be a more serious crime against another person. You can still be charged for that other offense, so burglary usually goes along with another serious felony or a sexual offense.
Because the key part of burglary is the trespassing, this crime would cover what is often called “breaking and entering.” However, the intent to commit another crime is a necessary part of burglary. Breaking into a building simply for the thrill of breaking may be a lower, trespass offense.
Sentence for Burglary in Utah
The first factor in determining your sentence for burglary is what type of building you entered. If the building was a “dwelling,” the crime is a second degree felony. A “dwelling” is “a building which is usually occupied by a person lodging in the building at night, whether or not a person is actually present,” according to Utah Code § 76-6-112. Basically, any building where people usually stay overnight could be a “dwelling.” This would include houses, apartments, condos, dorms, and other housing units, but may include other buildings as well. If the building is not a dwelling, the crime is a third degree felony.
The lesser version of burglary is a third degree felony. This is the punishment for burglarizing a non-dwelling place. This sentence includes a maximum of 5 years in prison and fines up to $5,000. Since there is no guaranteed minimum jail time, you could actually get a sentence of probation or other non-incarceration sentences. However, because burglary is a felony, you may still face some jail time.
The stronger version of burglary is a second degree felony. Because breaking into someone’s home is considered a worse offense than breaking into another building, the penalties are higher. A second degree felony has a minimum sentence of one year in prison, and a maximum of 15 years. It also includes fines up to $10,000.
These crimes are severe enough as they are, but may be even worse. Since burglary includes the intent to commit another crime, you may also be charged with that crime as well. Note that burglary requires the intent to commit that crime, not that you actually succeed in committing it. That means you could be charged with burglary on its own, you could be charged with burglary plus an attempted crime, or you could be charged with two completed crimes.
The crimes listed in the definition of burglary also carry severe penalties. Any felony committed alongside trespassing carries a potential punishment of more than one year, with a third degree felony being the lowest option. The other listed offenses are a mix of misdemeanors and felonies. This means you could be charged with a felony and a misdemeanor – or two felonies – depending on the crime that you’re charged with alongside burglary.
Salt Lake City Burglary Defense Lawyer
Utah criminal defense attorney Darwin Overson of Overson Law represents people charged with crimes in Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas. If you were charged with a serious felony like burglary, talk to an attorney today. You may have options to lower your potential penalties or reduce the charges. Call (801) 733-1308 today for a free consultation on your charges.