Is Burglary a Felony or Misdemeanor Offense in New York?

Burglary charges are more complex than they may initially seem. It’s common for individuals to misconstrue burglary as a theft offense that involves an offender stealing another party’s property. However, while theft can occur during a burglary, it’s not the only way to commit it. Burglary is also referred to as breaking and entering. This is because it’s considered a property crime in which an offender unlawfully enters another’s property with the intent to commit a crime. Therefore, while this crime can include theft, it’s more akin to trespassing. In New York, burglary charges are not taken lightly, as they carry harsh penalties. Please continue reading to learn whether burglary is a felony offense in New York and how a proficient Rockland County Criminal Defense Attorney can aggressively protect your rights. 

What Are the Key Elements of Burglary in New York?

Firstly, burglary occurs when an individual unlawfully enters into another’s property with the intent to commit a crime. For instance, an individual is guilty of burglary if they break into someone’s home intending to seal something- a home invasion. As mentioned above, while burglary is often paired with acts of larceny, it’s much broader.

In other cases, a person may commit burglary by unlawfully entering a home, business, or other structure, intending to commit assault, rape, vandalism, destruction of property, or arson. Ultimately, burglary occurs when a person unlawfully enters, trespasses on, or remains in a home or other structure with the intent to commit a crime once they’ve gained access. The critical elements of a burglary conviction are:

  • The defendant unlawfully entered or remained on a property.
  • The defendant knew they were not authorized to enter or remain in the property.
  • The defendant did so with the intent to commit a crime inside the property.

What Are the Penalties for Burglary?

While a burglary charge can be graded as a second or third-degree crime, it’s always classified as a felony offense. As such, if you’re charged with burglary, you will be looking at a lengthy prison sentence, significant monetary fines, and a permanent criminal record.

A conviction for a third-degree burglary is a Class D felony, punishable by one to seven years of imprisonment and a potential fine of up to $5,000. A conviction for a second-degree burglary charge is a Class C felony, punishable by one to 15 years of imprisonment and a potential fine of up to $5,000. A conviction for first-degree burglary carries the harshest penalties as it’s a Class B felony. This offense is punishable by one to 25 years of imprisonment and a potential fine of $5,000.

As you can see, burglary charges can upend your life. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to enlist the help of a determined Rockland County criminal defense attorney who can help guide you through this difficult time. At the Law Office of Carl Spector, we are prepared to combat your charges to protect your freedom.