This past week’s two high profile Home Invasion arrests in Darien and Greenwich highlight the need for homeowners not to let their guard down. In both cases, it was the middle of the afternoon. Front and back doors were unlocked. No alarm systems were armed (even though both homes had them). You would think in safe, small towns like Darien and Greenwich, you would not have to worry about high risk violent crimes like these.
Ever since the tragic and violent home invasion in Cheshire, Connecticut, lawmakers crafted the new crime of “home invasion” under C.G.S. § 53a-100aa. The crime applies when someone enters an inhabited residence with intent to commit a felony therein, or enters armed with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. The crime is extremely serious, as anyone convicted of a Connecticut Home Invasion faces a mandatory minimum of ten years in prison.
Reports indicate the Darien home was randomly selected by heroine-addicted burglars looking to quickly steal jewelry and valuables. Reports on the Greenwich home invasion suggest this home was specifically targeted due to the large amount of money kept within that home. Having grown up and lived in the area for most of my adult life, I’m just as guilty of being lax about home security. These days, it’s advisable to keep your home and car doors locked, keep your security system activated while you are at home, install surveillance cameras to monitor the outside of your house, and do not keep large amounts of cash and expensive jewelry in your home. And if you live near a major highway or parkway, make sure you and your neighbors are particularly vigilant about noticing unfamiliar vehicles in the neighborhood.
As most top Stamford criminal lawyers will tell you, the distinction between Home Invasion charges and Burglary charges can be confusing to attorneys, police, prosecutors and juries. The crime of Burglary in Connecticut under C.G.S. § 53a-101, § 53a-102, and § 53a-103 comes in varying degrees, but primarily involves the unauthorized entrance into a residence or building with the intent to commit a crime (rather than the intent to commit a specific felony, as is required for home invasion). The State must not only prove that the burglar entered the dwelling or building without permission, but it must show that the suspect intended to commit another crime while inside (whether it be larceny, assault, etc.).
Sometimes, however, Home Invasion charges are used by law enforcement as a sword and not a shield. Top Greenwich and Stamford burglary attorneys have at times seen aggressive police and prosecutors tack on a Home Invasion charge to what should be just a Burglary charge. This can happen in cases where the government wants to mount pressure on a suspect to either confess or cooperate with an investigation. If you are arrested for a Home Invasion charge in Connecticut, you realize very quickly how high the stakes are when looking at a ten-year mandatory minimum. Too often top Stamford burglary lawyers see defendants take pleas for burglary solely because the State has threatened to prosecute them on trumped up Home Invasion charges. These people usually figure (and rightfully figure) that in this day and age, jurors have little compassion for anyone breaking into a private home or apartment. They would much rather plead guilty to a felony burglary charge then serve a ten-year mandatory minimum home invasion sentence. So if you are charged with Home Invasion in Stamford, New Canaan, Darien, Greenwich, Norwalk, Westport or any other Connecticut jurisdiction, it is strongly advisable for you to consult a top Stamford Home Invasion / Burglary criminal attorney to discuss your options.
Victims of Home Invasions and Burglaries have a great deal of rights and remedies in the criminal and civil courts. The Superior Court system offers you the services of a Victim’s Advocate to assist you through a criminal prosecution. You are also free to hire a top Stamford victim attorney to advocate for you with the judge and prosecutor. The criminal and civil court systems can provide you with restitution to compensate you for out-of-pocket costs associated with your role as a victim of burglary or home invasion, including the costs of unreturned stolen items, damage to your home, office, or building, mental health counseling fees for you and your family, as well as compensation for pain and suffering. Most top Stamford burglary lawyers and top Stamford home invasion lawyers offer both defense and victim assistance services. These attorneys can also connect you with the State’s Office of Victim Services and help you apply for compensation through the Victim Compensation Fund.
So if you are accused of Burglary or Home Invasion in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, Norwalk, Westport, Wilton, or Fairfield, or are the Victim of a Home Invasion or Burglary case and need assistance, contact the experienced Burglary and Home Invasion lawyers at Mark Sherman Law today. Whether you are the accused or need assistance in getting compensation from an accused, we will guide you through the court process. We are focused on results—and will aggressively advocate for you and your family with vigor and compassion. Give us a call today at (203) 358-4700 to discuss your options.