Illegally entering someone's property with the intention of committing a crime can result in burglary charges, which is a serious offense that carries significant penalties. Merely because the Commonwealth charges someone with a crime, however, does not necessarily mean that there is enough evidence to prove their guilt. If you are facing charges of burglary, it is advisable to consult a lawyer for advice on how you can protect your rights. The committed Boston criminal defense attorneys at Koufman Law Group have the skills and knowledge needed to defend individuals facing criminal charges, and if you hire us, we will gather any evidence in your favor to help you seek the best legal outcome available under the facts of your case. Our office is in Boston, and we defend people charged with crimes in Boston and throughout Massachusetts.Burglary Crimes in Massachusetts
As defined by Massachusetts law, burglary is the crime of breaking into a dwelling, during the night, with the intent to commit a felony inside. People who use weapons or assault another individual when committing burglary may be charged with greater offenses.
Specifically, the law mandates that if a defendant enters the dwelling of another and encounters another person that is lawfully within the dwelling, they can be charged with aggravated or armed burglary if they were armed with a dangerous weapon at the time of the entry, armed themselves with a dangerous weapon after entering the dwelling, or committed an actual assault on the person who was lawfully present in the house. Aggravated or armed burglary carries a sentence of 10 years to life in prison.
Further, an individual that commits burglary while possessing a firearm, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, or assault weapon, will be sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. A second or subsequent conviction for this offense will require a minimum sentence of 20 years and may result in life imprisonment.
To convict someone of aggravated armed burglary, the prosecution must demonstrate each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. In other words, they must show that the defendant unlawfully broke into and entered a dwelling house during the nighttime and with the intention of committing a felony within the premises.
A dwelling house is any place where people live, including homes, apartments, hotels, and dorms. The Massachusetts courts construe breaking broadly. Specifically, it does not require a forced entry or destruction of property. Instead, the mere act of opening a door or window can constitute breaking. People can also break into a property using collusion or fraud rather than force. Similarly, the courts construe entry to mean any intrusion into the structure of the property, including via a hand or a foot.Defenses to Burglary Charges
Although criminal defendants are not required to present a defense at trial or prove their innocence, many opt to do so since it can work in their favor. One potential argument is that the prosecution cannot prove that they had the intent to commit a crime within the dwelling, which could lead to a not guilty verdict. Additionally, they may be able to assert that they were not in the dwelling unlawfully but had permission to be there. Depending on the specifics of the case, there could be various other defenses available as well.Talk to a Knowledge Boston Criminal Defense Attorney
A criminal record can permanently impair a person’s life, but many people charged with crimes can avoid a conviction with the assistance of a skilled attorney. If you are accused of burglary, it would benefit you to seek legal advice as soon as possible. The knowledgeable Boston criminal defense lawyers of Koufman Law Group are well-versed in what it takes to obtain favorable outcomes in criminal matters, and if we represent you, we will aggressively advocate on your behalf. Our office is in Boston, and we routinely defend people in criminal matters in Boston and throughout Massachusetts. You can contact us to set up a confidential consultation through our online form or by calling us at 617-423-2212.