Connecticut Burglary Lawyer
The big homes and flashy shopping establishments in the wealthy towns along Fairfield County Connecticut’s Gold Coast have frequently left these towns vulnerable to property crimes like Burglary. As a result, many police departments have dedicated resources and tax dollars to prosecuting Burglary arrests in Greenwich, Darien, Stamford, Greenwich and Westport Connecticut. Similarly, store and car Burglary arrests in Stamford, Greenwich and Darien Connecticut carry the same jail penalties as home burglary arrests in Stamford and Greenwich Connecticut. What top theft lawyers will tell you, however, is that there’s hope—in many cases, you can successfully fight your Burglary arrest in Stamford or Greenwich Connecticut. You see, the lines between Burglary and Criminal Trespass are often very blurry. Entering someone’s home, car or store without permission is not always a Felony Connecticut Burglary. This statutory confusion and overlap can oftentimes help you in fighting your Stamford Connecticut burglary arrest. So if you have been arrested for Burglary in Stamford, Norwalk, New Canaan or Darien Connecticut, you should contact a top Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyer attorney to learn how to start fighting your Connecticut Burglary arrest quickly and cost-effectively.
First Degree Burglary Arrests Under CGS 53a-101 and Their Penalties
As the best Greenwich Connecticut criminal lawyers would agree, there are three subsections of Connecticut’s Burglary laws—First, Second and Third Degrees. Burglary in the First Degree, codified in C.G.S. § 53a-101, is a Class B felony, and is the most serious Burglary charge in Connecticut. There are three different scenarios that can get you arrested for Burglary in the First Degree in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien or anywhere else in Connecticut:
(1) you unlawfully entered or remained inside of a building, intending to commit a crime therein, while you were carrying a deadly weapon or explosive;
(2) during the course of entering or remaining inside of a building with the intention of committing a crime, you intentionally or recklessly caused or attempted to cause physical injury to someone; or
(3) you entered or remained inside of a dwelling at night with the intention of committing a crime.
Notably, the first two scenarios involve entering a building while the third requires entering a dwelling. With this distinction, Connecticut lawmakers defined “buildings” as any structure that can be occupied by a person, such as boats, cars, trains and planes. A “dwelling,” however, is a building where individuals typically sleep at night. In plain language, a dwelling is someone’s home or residence. And as any of the top Stamford Connecticut Burglary lawyers would inform you, a guilty plea or conviction at trial of First Degree Burglary under CGS 53a-101 could result in a maximum prison sentence of 1 to 20 years in prison, probation, and up to $15,000 in fines. Also note that a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years (which cannot be reduced or suspended by the court) will be imposed if you are convicted of committing a Burglary while carrying a deadly weapon or explosive device.
Second & Third Degree Burglary Arrests in Connecticut and their Penalties
Ask any top Ridgefield or Danbury Connecticut criminal lawyer, you can be arrested for Burglary in the Second Degree, C.G.S. § 53a-102 in Ridgefield, Westport or Darien Connecticut if you unlawfully enter or remain inside of a dwelling with the intention of committing a crime inside, while someone else is inside of the house. Note that the “someone else” requirement must be someone other than any alleged accomplices or co-conspirators of yours. Pets don’t count. This crime is a Class C felony and carries a maximum $10,000 fine, 10-year jail sentence and probation. Additionally, if you are convicted or plead guilty to Second Degree Burglary and admit to using, threatening to use, or brandishing a firearm during your commission the crime, then you face a one-year mandatory minimum jail sentence which cannot be reduced or suspended. This penalty is set forth in C.G.S. § 53a-102a, Second Degree Burglary with a Firearm.
Finally, the least serious Burglary charge in Connecticut is Third Degree Burglary, C.G.S. § 53a-103. You can get arrested in Stamford, Wilton or Greenwich Connecticut for Third Degree Burglary under 53a-103 if you unlawfully enter or remain inside a building with the intention of committing a crime inside that building. As the best Connecticut Burglary criminal lawyers have observed, Third Degree Burglary—unlike Second Degree Burglary—does not require that the premises be a residence, nor does the law require that someone else be present inside the Building. This Burglary crime is a Class D felony which can result in a maximum 5 year jail sentence, $5000 fine, and probation. Additionally, if you use, threaten to use, or are armed with a firearm during the commission of Third Degree Burglary, then you can be arrested in Fairfield or Greenwich Connecticut for Third Degree Burglary with a Firearm, C.G.S. § 53a-103a, which calls for a minimum mandatory jail sentence of 1 year.
As illustrated, the penalties and punishments for a Burglary arrest are stiff and severe—whether you are arrested for First, Second or Third Degree Burglary. So be sure to contact a top Burglary lawyer in Connecticut if you are facing an arrest. The best thing you can do is get informed, know your rights, and be as prepared as possible for the criminal court process.
Fighting Your Connecticut Burglary Arrest
As any of the top Greenwich and Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyers would agree, one of the most effective methods in fighting a Burglary arrest in Darien, Wilton or Danbury Connecticut is to challenge the element of intent. In every Connecticut Burglary arrest, Connecticut prosecutors must prove that you intended on committing a crime inside the premises. That’s why the best Stamford Burglary criminal lawyers and attorneys will approach each case by carefully reviewing the digital and electronic surveillance footage. They will analyze the police reports and witness statements for errors, omissions, and inconsistencies. They may also conduct a forensic examination (oftentimes with the assistance of forensic experts) of the physical evidence collected by police in a Stamford Burglary arrest. In addition to surveillance and physical evidence, your top Stamford and New Canaan criminal lawyer may subpoena and preserve 911 call recordings, police dispatch records, and cell phone tower records, all of which may be helpful in supporting an alibi defense to a Stamford Connecticut arrest for Burglary. Your top Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyer will know the appropriate time to file these motions with the court. Diligent and aggressive trial preparation is also a big advantage for your Stamford criminal lawyer when it comes to entering into plea negotiations with Connecticut state prosecutors. You see, the more defense ammunition your top New Canaan and Wilton Connecticut criminal lawyers and attorneys have in their arsenal, the more likely a state prosecutor will see the weaknesses in their Burglary case against you, and will possibly reduce your Stamford Connecticut Burglary arrest to a criminal trespass, or drop the charges altogether.
Getting Your Connecticut Burglary Arrest Reduced to a Criminal Trespass Misdemeanor
As the best Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyers will concede, the Connecticut criminal statutes of Burglary and Criminal Trespass have some overlapping components. Both crimes punish varying degrees of entering or remaining inside different types of premises without permission. There are 3 classes of Criminal Trespass: First Degree Criminal Trespass (CGS 53a-107), a Class A misdemeanor, carrying up to 1 year in prison if convicted; Second Degree Criminal Trespass (CGS 53a-108), a Class B misdemeanor, that carries up to 6 months in prison, and Criminal Trespass in the Third Degree (CGS 53a-109), a Class C misdemeanor that carries up to 3 months in prison. Click here if you were arrested for Criminal Trespass in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien or New Canaan Connecticut.
The key distinction between Burglary and Criminal Trespass arrests in Connecticut is that a Burglary always requires an additional element—the intention of committing a crime inside the premises. So if you entered a building unlawfully, but there is no evidence that you intended to commit a crime inside, then you should not be charged with any degree of Burglary. Top New Canaan and Ridgefield criminal lawyers often see teenagers arrested for overblown charges of Burglary who are fooling around or throwing underage drinking parties in abandoned houses or on public or private property without permission, when in fact the circumstances only warrant a Criminal Trespass arrest under CGS 53a-108. What further exacerbates these cases is damage and vandalism to the property, or drug use or sex assault inside the property.
Top Stamford Connecticut criminal defense attorneys will sometimes see heavy-handed prosecutors threaten a Burglary charge in a Criminal Trespass case just to get you to plead guilty to the Criminal Trespass. Don’t be intimidated. Consult with a top Darien, Ridgefield, or Wilton Connecticut criminal lawyer who is not afraid to push back against aggressive prosecutors and district attorneys. If your attorney believes that the State does not have enough evidence to convict you of Burglary, then your attorney will bring that to the prosecutor’s and judge’s attention during any plea negotiations. Remember that the most important consideration is to be prepared, understand the strengths and weaknesses of your case, and work closely with your top Stamford Connecticut Burglary lawyer to try and get the best results possible.
Can I Get Accelerated Rehabilitation for My Burglary Arrest?
Yes, but only if you are arrested in Connecticut for Second Degree Burglary (CGS 53a-102) or Third Degree Burglary (53a-103). And even though these crimes are technically eligible for Connecticut’s Pre-Trial Accelerated Rehabilitation Program (also known as “AR”), getting this program is not automatic. Your top Westport and Fairfield Connecticut criminal lawyer attorney will need to assemble a compelling mitigation package to persuade a Connecticut criminal court judge to suspend the prosecution of your case, grant you the Connecticut AR program, and then dismiss your Connecticut Burglary arrest during a probationary-type program of up to 2 years, which could include mandatory drug counseling, community service or urine tests.
Conspiracy Charges in a Connecticut Burglary Arrest
One other common tactic that the best Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyers see in Burglary arrests is the addition of a Conspiracy charge under CGS 53a-48. Connecticut Conspiracy law casts a wide net over participants in a Burglary, even if the participant had a very minor role in the crime. All that is required for a Conspiracy arrest is for you to be accused of (1) agreeing with one or more people to commit a burglary, (2) having the intent to commit the burglary (in other words, you must not be joking), and (3) committing an “overt act” in furtherance of the conspiracy. This over act could be anything from driving the getaway car to making a single credit card purchase for a backpack or flashlight used in the Burglary. Whatever your involvement may be, you should know that if you are arrested in Connecticut as part of a Conspiracy in a Burglary case, you could be punished just as severely as the other participants, regardless of your role or even if you stayed home. For more information about Conspiracy arrests in Stamford, New Canaan, Greenwich and Darien Connecticut, click here.
The Overlap Between Burglary and Home Invasion
In 2007, a violent Cheshire Connecticut burglary led to the arrest and death penalty convictions of two men for multiple counts of kidnapping, murder, assault, rape and arson. Each of these men received the death penalty plus 100+ year prison sentences. Shortly after the Cheshire murders, then-Governor Jodi Rell, along with Connecticut lawmakers enacted a new law—the crime of Home Invasion. They also dialed up the Burglary laws, making the act of entering a home at night with the intention to commit a crime Burglary in the First Degree under CGS 53a-101. Now, conduct that once carried up to 10 years in prison exposes a person arrested for First Degree Burglary in Connecticut to 20 years in prison. The distinction between Burglary and Home Invasion arrests focus on the intent of the accused—whether they possessed the intent to commit a crime while inside the premises (Burglary) or whether they intended on committing a violent felony upon a victim, or was armed with a deadly weapon. Needless to say, the threat of having your Stamford Connecticut Burglary arrest raised to a Connecticut Home Invasion arrest under CGS 53a-100aa, which carries a 10-year mandatory minimum, can quickly and detrimentally affect plea negotiations in a criminal case. Click here for more information on a Home Invasion arrest in Stamford, Greenwich, New Canaan, or Darien Greenwich Connecticut.
Community Prevention Programs Designed to Assist in Burglary Arrests in Connecticut
So why do the best Fairfield County Connecticut criminal lawyers see so many Burglary arrests in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, Wilton, and New Canaan? The answer may lie in the fact that police departments in these Fairfield County towns have taken a pro-active approach to fighting Connecticut property crimes like Burglary and Home Invasion by establishing a number of community initiatives meant to act as deterrents. For example, the towns of Fairfield, New Canaan and Wilton Connecticut each have Neighborhood Watch programs that have educated their residents on warning signs, response strategies and safety plans. New Canaan Connecticut has gone to even greater lengths in fighting Burglaries – starting “The Closed House List.” With this program, New Canaan Connecticut residents can put themselves on this list if they intend on being away from home for a while, so that uniformed officers can check in on their homes once a week while they are gone. Clearly, law enforcement and residents are ramping up their crime prevention efforts, resulting in more Burglary arrests in Wilton, New Canaan and Fairfield Connecticut.
Contact an Experienced Connecticut Burglary Criminal Lawyer at Mark Sherman Law Today
As discussed above, getting arrested for Burglary in Stamford or Greenwich Connecticut presents a high-stakes battle with prosecutors. And with the chance of a Connecticut Home Invasion charge being added to your case, it is critical that you hire an experienced and aggressive criminal law firm to fight your Stamford Connecticut Burglary arrest. The team of criminal lawyers at Mark Sherman Law will ensure that no stone is left unturned in your criminal case by guaranteeing our “two-attorney review.” At least 2 of our criminal lawyers will review your file and meet with you to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your case. So whether you have been arrested in Connecticut for Criminal Trespass, Burglary or Home Invasion, we can help you fight your charges with a combination of skill, cost-efficiency, competence, and compassion. Contact an attorney at Mark Sherman Law for a consultation today.