Given the close relation of theft, robbery, and burglary as property crimes in Arizona, it can be relatively easy to confuse the terms. The difference in these property crimes, however, is extremely important as the consequences and defenses to each charge vary greatly. When charged with burglary in Mesa, Tempe, or the surrounding areas in Maricopa County, understanding your charges could be key to your defense. An experienced and knowledgeable property crime defense lawyer in Mesa can help you understand your charges of burglary, as well as fight to have them reduced or dismissed.Tempe Burglary Defense Lawyer
A conviction for burglary is a serious matter that will affect you for the rest of your life. If you have been arrested on charges for burglary in Mesa, Tempe, Gilbert, Phoenix, Chandler, Scottsdale, East Valley, or elsewhere in Maricopa County, contact the Law Office of James E. Novak. When considering a defense lawyer for Maricopa County burglary charges, it is best to contact one as soon as possible after your arrest.
James Novak has over 15 years of experience and several specialized degrees guiding his criminal defense strategies and practice. As a former prosecutor for Maricopa County, he knows what tactics the prosecution will use for a burglary case in Mesa, Tempe, or the surrounding areas and how to defend against them. To find out more about what the Law Office of James E. Novak can do for your Mesa burglary case, call (480) 413-1499 today and schedule your free initial case consultation.Important Arizona Burglary Legal Definitions
Before you can understand the offense of burglary in Arizona, it is important to understand what certain legal terms involving the offense of burglary mean. These can be found in ARS § 13-1508, and help to classify which degree of burglary offense you could be facing. An experienced Maricopa County criminal defense lawyer can help further explain how the following terms apply to your Tempe burglary case:
- Entry – the intrusion of any part of instrument or any part of a person's body inside the external boundaries of a structure or unit of real property
- Fenced Commercial Yard – a unit of real property that is surrounded completely by fences, walls, buildings, or similar barriers, or any combination thereof, and is zoned for business operations or the keeping of commercial items like livestock or produce
- Fenced Residential Yard – a unit of real property that immediately surrounds or is adjacent to a residential structure, and that is enclosed by a fence, wall, building, similar barrier, or any combination thereof
- Fenced Yard – a unit of real property that is surrounded by fences, walls, buildings, or similar barriers, or any combination thereof
- Manipulation Key – a key, device, or instrument, other than a key that is designed to operate a specific lock, that can be variably positioned and manipulated in a vehicle keyway to operate a lock or cylinder – including a wiggle key, jiggle key, or rocker key
- Master Key – a key that operates all the keyed locks or cylinders in a similar type or group of locks
- Nonresidential Structure – any structure other than a residential structure, including a retail structure or store
- Residential Structure – any mobile or immobile structure, whether permanent or temporary, that is adapted for both human residence and lodging, whether or not it is currently occupied
Types of Burglary in Arizona Defined
Chapter 15 of the Arizona Revised Statutes contains the laws that governs criminal trespass and burglary in this state. Burglary is organized according to the type and class of offense in ARS §§ 13-1505 – 13-1508. The act of burglary in Arizona is when a person unlawfully enters and/or remains in a yard, structure, or vehicle with the intent to commit any theft or felony inside. To enter or remain unlawfully means that a person's intent upon entering or remaining on a premises is not one that is licensed, authorized, or otherwise privileged.
For instance, entering a closed retail store at night is considered entering and/or remaining unlawfully, while entering or remaining while the store is open is not. The class of burglary depends on the circumstances of the case. Third-degree burglary, for instance, is defined by ARS § 13-1506 as entering or remaining unlawfully in or on a residential structure, fenced commercial yard, or residential yard with the intent to commit any theft or felony inside.
It is also an offense of third-degree burglary to enter into any part of a motor vehicle with a manipulation or master key and the intent to commit any theft or felony in the vehicle. Second-degree burglary is when a person commits burglary on a residential structure, and first-degree burglary is when a person commits burglary while knowingly in possession of explosives, a deadly weapon, or a dangerous instrument. All burglary offenses are serious felony crimes. The services of an experienced Maricopa County property crime defense attorney are highly recommended to protect your rights and your future from conviction.
Penalties for Maricopa County Burglary
Felonies in Arizona have specific presumptive sentences based on what class the offense is in. Burglary in the third degree is a class four felony punishable by 18 months to three years in prison and/or at least $750 in fines. Second-degree burglary is a class three felony punishable by two and a half to seven years in prison and fines of a minimum of $750. The most punitive burglary offense is first-degree burglary, which is a class three felony if committed in a nonresidential structure or fenced commercial or residential yard, and a class two felony if committed in a residential structure.
Class three felonies come with two and a half to seven years in prison, while class two felonies are punishable by four to 10 years in prison. Both come with at least $750 in fines. Plus, all felonies in Arizona come with the loss of certain civil rights, as well as other effects on your future like the loss of the ability to pursue certain educational and professional opportunities. A skilled and qualified Tempe and Mesa criminal defense attorney can fight against conviction and these consequences for your Maricopa County burglary charges.
The Law Office of James E. Novak | Burglary Defense Attorney in Maricopa County
If you have been arrested and charged for burglary anywhere in Maricopa County, including Mesa, Tempe, Gilbert, Phoenix, Chandler, Scottsdale, and East Valley, contact the Law Office of James E. Novak to begin working on your defense immediately. With experience as a former prosecutor in the county, James Novak knows what it takes to defend burglary cases like yours in the area. Your first consultation is free, so call the Law Office of James E. Novak at (480) 413-1499 today and schedule yours.