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Burglary in Essex County

Burglary in Essex

A burglary in Essex County refers to the act of breaking and entering into a house to commit a felony. The punishment for a burglary varies, depending on the offender’s prior criminal record or whether they were armed during the burglary. Punishments may range from a maximum of 20 years imprisonment to life imprisonment. To convict for burglary under Massachusetts Laws,

  • The burglary must have happened at night time
  • The burglar entered into a dwelling place or a property capable of being broken into, such as cars and ships
  • The burglar had the intention of committing a crime.

The prosecutor must prove these three elements beyond a reasonable doubt to convict an offender.

Essex County recorded 796 completed burglaries in 2019, its lowest in over a decade. However, reports of attempted burglary fluctuated between 2016 and 2019. Cases of attempted burglary peaked in 2017 with 97 reported cases and dropped to 74 reported cases in 2019.

What is the Difference Between a Robbery and Burglary in Essex County?

Despite their similarities, a robbery is distinct from a burglary under different state laws. In Essex County, the differences include

  1. Breaking in. A fundamental element of a burglary is breaking into a property to commit a crime, this is not essential in a robbery. Robberies can occur anywhere.
  2. Time: Another necessary element of burglary is the nighttime. While the requirement of nighttime has been eliminated in some states across the US, Massachusetts retains the requirement. A robbery may be perpetrated at any time of the day.
  3. Force or threat of force: Robbery primarily involves the use of force or the threat of force. On the other hand, it is irrelevant in a burglary case whether force was involved in the commission of the crime.
  4. Theft: A successful robbery typically results in theft. However, a successful burglary does not need to result in theft.
  5. Penalties: The different penalties for burglary and robbery also indicate that the law views them as two distinct crimes. Depending on the circumstances of each case, the punishment for a robbery may be tougher than for a burglary.

How to Beat a Burglary Charge in Essex County

A burglary conviction can have serious implications such as a permanent criminal record, incarceration, difficulties returning to a normal life post-incarceration, and so on. Consulting a professional may help the accused beat the charges. A criminal defense attorney with experience in burglary cases may be able to convince the prosecution to drop the charges or present evidence showing

  • The defendant lacked the intent or mental capacity to carry out the crime. For instance, if the accused believed they had a right or consent to enter the property or were intoxicated at the time of breaking into the property.
  • Consent: the defense attorney may successfully convince the court that there was implied or express consent to enter the property.
  • Disputing the necessary elements: the attorney may cast doubts on the prosecution’s case through cross-examination of prosecution witnesses or presenting counter-arguments that the prosecution was not able to prove all the required elements of burglary in the case.
  • Entrapment. Law enforcement officers may disguise themselves as normal people and subtly influence the suspect into committing a crime or partaking in some elements of a crime. However, the defense attorney may argue that the influence was overwhelming and was the primary reason the accused committed the crime.

A defense attorney may explore other defenses, most of which are peculiar and relevant to their client’s case and circumstances.

What are the Degrees of Burglary in Essex County?

Essex County classifies burglaries as

  • Breaking and entering at night
  • Unarmed burglary
  • Armed burglary

Breaking and entering at night involves breaking into a building or other properties, such as a vehicle, at night with an intent to commit a crime. Regardless of whether the offender successfully commits the felony, the punishment for the offense is a maximum of 20 years in the state prison or a maximum of two and a half years in a jail or house of correction.

Unarmed burglary covers situations where the burglar breaks into a dwelling house at night while unarmed, including situations where the burglar neither arm themself with any weapon in the house nor assault any lawful occupant. Regardless of whether the offender is successful in committing the felony, they may be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in the state prison if convicted. For second offenders, it is a minimum of five years imprisonment in the state prison.

Burglary while armed covers situations where the burglar carries a weapon or assaults a person lawfully occupying the house. Convicted offenders may be sentenced to life imprisonment in state prison or imprisonment for any term of years including a minimum of ten years imprisonment. The punishment is stricter if the burglar is a repeat offender or is armed with a firearm or assault weapon.

Residential Burglary vs Commercial Burglary

Some states differentiate between residential burglary and commercial burglary. In such states, the fundamental difference between residential burglary and commercial burglary is the building burgled. Residential burglary involves breaking into a dwelling house, or its equivalent, to commit theft or a felony. On the other hand, commercial burglary involves breaking into a commercial building, such as shops, restaurants, diners, etc., to commit theft or a felony. However, the relevant Massachusetts General Laws on burglary do not differentiate between residential and commercial burglary.