Crime of Burglary

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The Statute Governing Burglary Charges in Pennsylvania

Our Pittsburgh criminal defense attorneys look forward to explaining all your rights and options at this time. Below you will find the actual text of the Pennsylvania law governing the crime of burglary in Pennsylvania. This was current as of July 2010. Our Pittsburgh criminal defense law firm is primarily in the business of fighting for defendants’ rights; we are not in the business of updating websites, but wanted to at least give you some information for educational purposes, only. You should talk to a lawyer for legal advice to fully learn your rights in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties. We will explain to you the crime, possible punishment, and all your options.

Burglary – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3502

18 Pa.C.S.A. § 3502. Burglary.
(a) Offense defined.– A person is guilty of burglary if he enters a building or occupied structure, or separately secured or occupied portion thereof, with intent to commit a crime therein, unless the premises are at the time open to the public or the actor is licensed or privileged to enter.

(b) Defense.– It is a defense to prosecution for burglary that the building or structure was abandoned.

(c) Grading.– (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), burglary is a felony of the first degree.

(2) If the building, structure or portion entered is not adapted for overnight accommodation and if no individual is present at the time of entry, burglary is a felony of the second degree.

(d) Multiple convictions.– A person may not be convicted both for burglary and for the offense which it was his intent to commit after the burglarious entry or for an attempt to commit that offense, unless the additional offense constitutes a felony of the first or second degree. (Dec. 19, 1990, P.L.1196, No.201, eff. July 1, 1991)

1990 Amendment. Act 201 amended subsec. (c). Cross References. Section 3502 is referred to in sections 3311, 5708, 6105 of this title; sections 5552, 9802 of Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure).

The Punishment for Burglary in Pennsylvania

Our criminal defense attorneys look forward to explaining all your rights and options at this time. Burglary is charged as a first degree felony in many cases, if the alleged burglary took place in someone’s residence, or other persons were in present at the time of the alleged incident.

Here are some additional things to keep in mind:

If the building is not a home (adapted for overnight accommodation) AND if no one is present at the time of entry, the Commonwealth classifies it as a second degree felony burglary.

Conviction of Multiple Crimes – Merger
You should also know that the provides: “A person may not be convicted both for burglary and for the offense which it was his intent to commit after the burglarious entry or for an attempt to commit that offense, unless the additional offense constitutes a felony of the first or second degree.”

Thus, generally speaking, if you are also accused of theft during a burglary, the prosecution cannot (and should not) charge you with a theft offense except when it is a serious felony theft charge.

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