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How to Present a Defense Against Burglary Charges

Being accused of unlawfully breaking into a building with the intent of committing a crime is a serious issue, and you'll likely want to discuss the details of your situation with someone who's familiar with burglary offense law. Fortunately, there are several potential defenses that might be presented.

What the Prosecution Must Prove

In the United States, the crime of burglary carries three distinct features, and the prosecution is obligated to prove that all three were part of the events that occurred. First, the accused must be shown to have broken into a place and entered it without authorization. Second, the location must be a building or some type of structure designed for human occupation. Third, the accused must have done so with the intent of committing a crime.

A Pure Claim of Innocence

The simplest defense in many cases is to demonstrate that you were not present at the location at the time the alleged offense happened. A burglary offense law services practice may be able to help you track down surveillance or traffic camera footage that clearly shows you were elsewhere, for example. The testimony of witnesses can also be presented to demonstrate you couldn't have committed the crime.

An Affirmative Defense

The idea behind this type of defense is to argue that the individual took the actions that are being alleged, but the actions in question were not criminal in nature. A person might have accidentally entered a residence thinking it was their own, for example. It should be noted that claims of intoxication at the time may be presented as part of such a defense. An accused individual might argue that they broke and entered because they were trying to render assistance, such as when they had heard a cry for help.

Legal Entrapment

One of the more difficult claims to present is that you were legally entrapped. This is the notion that someone induced you into committing the crime, and that you would not have otherwise done it without their encouragement or direction.

Authorization as a Defense

If you believe that you had the right to be on the property and enter the structure, you might be able to present that as an argument for your actions. For example, you went to a business location with the permission of the owner and were told to break a window to unlock the door.

If you'd like to learn more about burglary defense law, click here for more information.