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Consequences of an Arizona Burglary Conviction

Consequences of an Arizona Burglary Conviction
Consequences of an Arizona Burglary Conviction

The three different degrees of burglary offenses are covered by Arizona’s burglary laws. Each of these offenses is a felony, and all carry a potential prison sentence.

According to Arizona law, a burglary occurs when a person illegally enters and stays in a building or on a piece of property with the intent to steal something or perform another felonious criminal act. Even if there was no theft during the break-in, a burglary conviction may still be obtained. All that is required is the intent to commit theft, or any other felony, therein.

There are Three Degrees of Burglary Charges

First Degree: When a person illegally enters a residential structure/home while in possession of an explosive, a lethal weapon, or a potentially hazardous tool like a hammer, they are charged with burglary in the first degree, a Class 2 felony. When someone commits this same offense, but in a fenced commercial on residential yard (as opposed to within the residence) it is still charged as burglary in the first degree, but a Class 3 felony.  ARS §13-1508

Second Degree: Illegally entering or remaining inside a home/residential structure without an explosive, lethal weapon, or potentially hazardous tool with the intent to steal or commit a felony crime therein is considered a second-degree burglary offense under Arizona law and is a Class 3 felony.  ARS §13-1507

Third Degree: Illegally entering or remaining unlawfully in a fenced residential or commercial yard with the intent to steal or commit a felony crime therein or entering a vehicle with a master or manipulation key with the same intent, is a third-degree burglary. Both instances of third-degree burglary are a Class 4 felony.  ARS §13-1506

Simply possessing the common tools used for burglaries, such as a crowbar, slim-jim, lock picks, master key, torches, or hammers, is a Class 6 felony. ARS §13-1505

The Burglary Laws of Arizona

Under Arizona Revised Statute §13-1701, a “structure” is broadly defined as any building, object, vehicle, watercraft, aircraft, or a place with sides and a floor intended for lodging, business, transportation, recreation, or storage. This even includes a tent left by the homeless on a sidewalk in the city.

An occupied structure is defined as one or more people who are likely to be present inside or to be in danger should a nearby explosion or fire happen.

Government structures, walled industrial yards, and private property are all considered to be property since they have value and are owned by either the public or the private sector.

Since commercial business entrances are open to the public, those who take part in the recent surge in grab-and-run commercial thefts do not satisfy the entering and remaining unlawfully aspect of burglary. But when a firm is shut down, unauthorized access and remaining unlawfully can occur.

Penalties for Burglary Convictions 

The most severe possible prison sentence for a first-degree burglary conviction as a Class 2 felony, with no allegations of prior felony convictions, is 12.5 years. The maximum prison term for a burglary in the first degree or a conviction for burglary in second degree, with no allegations of prior felony convictions, as a Class 3 felony, is 8.75 years. The most severe prison sentence for a third-degree burglary, a Class 4 felony, with no allegations of prior felony convictions, is 3.75 years. Possession of burglary tools, a Class 6 felony, even with no prior felony convictions alleged, can carry a prison sentence of up to 2 years. For each felony conviction, the judge may also impose fines of up to $150,000.

For non-dangerous offenses, Arizona’s sentencing guidelines have five levels: mitigated, minimum, presumptive, maximum, and aggravated. The length of the sentence imposed is up to the discretion of the court, which also considers any prior criminal history as well as many other variables such as value of loss caused to the victim.

The Effects of a Felony Conviction on your Life 

A felony conviction is life changing and it will remain on your public record for anyone to see, making it difficult to get a job and rent a place to live. Beyond serving time in prison and owing stiff fines, upon release you will not be allowed to own or possess a firearm, vote in any election, hold any public office, enlist in the military, go to college, or keep a professional license. And you will be placed on probation which comes with restrictions imposed by the court. If probation is violated, you will go back to prison.

Defenses for Burglary Charges 

The defense’s task is to force the State to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt to either a judge or jury.

The state must establish each of the three elements of a burglary charge in order to obtain a conviction. These are (1) unauthorized breaking and entering (2) in an occupied structure or any building (3) with the intent to commit a theft or felony crime once inside.

Common defenses to burglary are that a person was permitted entry by the owner or resident of the building, place of business, or vehicle, and/or that once inside, they had no intention of committing a crime.

What should be done? 

In times of desperate need, even good people will steal. Recovering or seeking to recover personal belongings after a tumultuous relationship might also result in the allegation of this crime. A seasoned criminal defense trial lawyer, like those at Rising Phoenix Law Group, will be by your side as soon as possible to defend your legal rights if you or a loved one is being arrested and charged with burglary. We fully understand that being convicted of burglary has major repercussions for your freedom and future.

Do not hesitate to call 888-912-5617 at any time, day or night, weekends, or holidays, and we will respond promptly.

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