Burglary is a crime that has both a pop culture meaning and a legal definition. If you’re not a lawyer, you might think you know what burglary law in Lexington, KY entails, but the legal system has a very specific definition. If each of the elements of the crime cannot be proven, the state cannot convict a person—which is great news for anyone who has been wrongly accused.

What is burglary?

Burglary is broken down into two elements: entering a building, with the intent to commit a crime. Legally, “entering a building” means that a person broke into either a residence, a commercial building or another structure. Alternatively, the person could have entered legally—like being invited into a home or office—and then remained there after their invitation “expired.” For example, if your Great Aunt Florence invites you over for tea, and you pretend to leave but hide in the basement until she goes to bed so you can steal her jewelry, that would also count as unlawfully entering.

“With the intent to commit a crime” means that prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you entered or remained on the property in order to do something illegal, such as steal money, goods or even information. In contrast to the Great Aunt Florence example, if you were accidentally locked in a store and ate some snacks while waiting for help, that wouldn’t qualify as burglary because not only did you not intend to remain on the premises, you also didn’t remain on the premises with the goal of stealing snacks.

Degrees of burglary

Burglary is separated into three different degrees: first degree burglary either involves the possession of weapons or explosives (even if you didn’t use them), a burglar threatening a non-participant in the crime with their weapons or explosives or a non-participant being injured in the course of the crime.

Second degree burglary involves cases where the burglar enters a residence or dwelling—anywhere people live. Third degree burglary involves entering any other type of building.

Burglary punishments

If you’re convicted of burglary in Kentucky, your punishment will largely depend on the degree. Third degree burglary, where you enter a non-dwelling, without weapons or explosives and no one got hurt, carries a sentence of one to five years in prison.

Second degree burglary—again, where no weapons, threats or injuries were involved, but you entered a residence with the intent of committing a crime—can net five to 10 years in jail.

Finally, first degree burglary carries a sentence of 10 to 20 years and up to $10,000 in fines.

Learn more about burglary law in Lexington, KY

If you’ve been accused of burglary in Kentucky, don’t wait to find an attorney. The team at Oakley & Oakley LLC can help you fight the charges. Our qualified attorneys have experience in both state and federal court and will aggressively pursue justice on your behalf. No matter the facts of your case, you deserve a skilled attorney and legal defense. Call us today to learn more and set up a consultation.