Most people probably think of burglary as simply being the crime of theft. However, a burglary is much more than that and involves a lot more than simply stealing something. It involves unlawfully entering another person’s property or home while intending to commit a crime. That crime does not necessarily have to be theft. It could go much further than that.
Burglary in the First Degree Per New York Penal Law 140.30
A person can commit any number of crimes when they commit burglary. The crime could be assault, kidnapping, rape or any other type of criminal act. Generally speaking, there are three distinct burglary offenses per the New York Penal Law. The most serious is burglary in the first degree, which differs from the other types because it normally involves some sort of violent act or threat of violence. It also stands if the burglary involves someone else’s home. In general, a person can be charged with the crime of burglary in the first degree if they enter another person’s home and remain there with the intention of committing a crime while on the premises. Additionally, the following must be in place through either the person or their accomplice:
• Being armed with a deadly weapon or explosives
• Having directly caused another person to be physically injured
• Having used a dangerous instrument
• Having shown what seems to be a gun or other firearm
As per New York law, a dwelling is considered a building that is used for overnight lodging by people. A dwelling is a house or apartment building.
An example of burglary in the first degree is a man entering another man’s home through an open window with no screen on the first floor. The individual creeps around the home and searches for valuables he can steal. He ends up knocking over a lamp he didn’t see in the dark. While this is going on, the man who lives in the house is suddenly awakened due to the noise. He comes downstairs to his living room to see the intruder and yells out to him to get out. The individual instead charges at him and pulls a gun from his pocket. He beats the man into unconsciousness and then steals a few valuables. The man living at the house suffers a concussion as a result of the attack. The man who broke into the house could be charged with burglary in the first degree as a result.
Defenses for Burglary in the First Degree in New York
To convict a defendant of burglary in the first degree, the prosecutor is required to prove that the individual was unlawfully at the dwelling. If the person was invited, for instance, it would be difficult in proving they committed burglary.
Sentences for Burglary in the First Degree in New York
The crime of burglary in the first degree is charged as a class B felony, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 25 years. Additionally, due to the crime also being violent, there is an additional minimum of five years tacked onto the sentence. However, the length of a person’s sentence depends on a few factors, particularly, their criminal history. If the defendant has no prior criminal history on their record, they may receive as little as five years in prison. Those who have a prior conviction may receive over five years and as much as 25 years in prison.
Summary of Burglary in the First Degree Per New York Penal Law 140.30
A person commits burglary in the first degree when they enter a dwelling unlawfully while intending to commit a crime in that place and they or an accomplice:
• Are armed with a deadly weapon or explosives
• Cause physical injury to someone on the premises not involved in the criminal act
• Use or threatens to use a dangerous instrument
• Displays a firearm