The crime of burglary involves entering a building illegally with the intent to commit a crime. Most burglary is committed with the intent to steal property; however, it could also include breaking into a building to assault a person, vandalize property, or commit sexual assault. The penalties for burglary depend on the events surrounding the crime, including whether anyone was injured or a deadly weapon was used.
Under the Alabama criminal code, burglary charges include:
- First-degree burglary
- Second-degree burglary
- Third-degree burglary
Burglary in the First Degree
Under Alabama Code Section 13A-7-5, burglary in the first degree involves knowingly and unlawfully entering or remaining in a dwelling with intent to commit a crime, where the defendant is:
- Armed with explosives;
- Causes physical injury to any person who is not a participant in the crime;
- In effecting entry, is armed with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument; or
- Uses or threatens the immediate use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument against another person.
If the burglar takes or steals a weapon during the burglary but does not use it, that may not be considered first-degree burglary.
Burglary in the first degree in Alabama is a Class A felony. The penalties for a conviction of a Class A felony include a possible sentence ranging from 10 years up to life in prison and a fine of up to $60,000. If a deadly weapon was used during the crime, the minimum sentence is 20 years in prison.
Burglary in the Second Degree
Under Alabama Code Section 13A-7-6, second-degree burglary involves unlawfully entering an occupied dwelling with the intent to commit a theft or felony therein.
A “dwelling” is “a building which is used or normally used by a person for sleeping, living, or lodging therein.” This could include a home, apartment building, hotel, or a mobile home.
Burglary of any type of building can also be a burglary in the second degree if it involves the use of a deadly weapon, explosives, or anyone is injured during the burglary.
Second-degree burglary is a Class B felony. The penalties for a conviction of a Class B felony in Alabama include a sentence ranging from 2 years to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $30,000. If a deadly weapon was used during the crime, the minimum sentence is 10 years in prison.
Burglary in the Third Degree
Under Alabama Code Section 13A-7-7, third-degree burglary involves entering any type of building, or an unoccupied dwelling, without the use of a deadly weapon. This includes entering or remaining unlawfully, with the intent to commit a crime, in a:
- Occupied building
- Unoccupied building
Third-degree burglary is a Class C felony. The penalties for a conviction of a Class C felony in Alabama include a sentence ranging from 1 year and 1 day in prison up to a maximum of 10 years and a fine not to exceed $15,000.
Experienced Alabama Criminal Defense Attorney
John Allen understands the risks and penalties involved with a felony burglary conviction. Attorney John Allen will vigorously defend you from charges ranging from first-degree burglary to third-degree burglary. An arrest does not mean you have to be convicted. An experienced criminal defense attorney like John Allen knows how to challenge the state's evidence at trial and to seek an acquittal. He also frequently negotiates with prosecutors to get his clients into diversion programs and alternative courts where they can get their charges dismissed without the risk of trial. Contact Huntsville defense lawyer John Allen today.