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    Westport Burglary Lawyer

    While burglary is a serious crime, top Westport burglary lawyers know that many defense strategies can be used to fight the charges. A defense attorney can start right away collecting and preserving evidence while working to protect your rights and to reach a positive outcome.

    Do Arrests Always Lead to a Conviction?

    Every criminal offense is made up of elements that must be present for a violation to occur, and burglary is no exception. The elements differ depending on the degree of burglary charged. For burglary in the third degree, for instance, under Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) §53a-103, to be guilty, a person must:

    • Enter or remain
    • Inside a building
    • Unlawfully
    • With the intent to commit a crime in that building

    If a Westport burglary attorney can prove that any of these elements is missing, there is no violation and the charges should be dismissed.

    What Are the Penalties for Burglary in the Third Degree?

    The potential penalties for burglary vary depending on the circumstances and the degree of the offense charged. For third-degree burglary, which is a Class D felony, the maximum sentence is five years in prison with a fine of up to $5,000. One year of that sentence is mandatory, meaning it cannot be suspended, if a firearm is present.

    What Are the Consequences of Burglary in the First or Second Degree?

    Burglary in the second degree (C.G.S. §53a-102) is a Class C felony punishable by up to ten years of imprisonment and a maximum $10,000 fine.

    The potential fine increases to $15,000 for first-degree burglary (C.G.S. §53a-101), which is a Class B felony. Moreover, the maximum prison sentence doubles to 20 years. Those convicted of either first or second-degree burglary face a minimum one-year sentence, and the court may not suspend a year or more of the sentence if a firearm is used in the commission of the burglary.

    A burglary lawyer in Westport can seek alternative penalties or show that the circumstances warrant no more than a conviction for the lesser crime of trespassing.

    What Are Aggravating Factors That Increase the Severity of a Burglary Offense?

    In addition to the presence of a firearm, there are other factors that cause a burglary to be penalized more severely. A situation that would otherwise be treated as third-degree burglary can escalate to burglary in the first degree if the person entering or remaining in the building attempts to injure someone or if they are armed with explosives.

    If the building involved in a burglary is a “dwelling,” then burglary committed at night becomes a first-degree burglary. A burglary in a dwelling will be treated as second-degree burglary if someone is present in the dwelling other than the person accused of burglary or their accomplices.

    Consult a Westport Burglary Attorney

    A Westport burglary lawyer can start investigating to locate evidence to fight the charges while that evidence is most readily available. If you can show that you had no intention of committing a crime or that you had the authority to be in the building, then no burglary has been committed. To get started on your defense strategy now, call Mark Sherman Law for an initial consultation with a burglary attorney.