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Grand Rapids Burglary Lawyer

If you have been arrested or charged with the crime of burglary, you are likely already aware of the serious consequences you could face if convicted. Even if you did not steal anything, you can still be convicted of burglary if the prosecution can establish the required legal elements of the offense.

Burglary constitutes a felony offense. After you have served your sentence and paid the required fines, a felony conviction will become a part of your permanent criminal record. A felony conviction can affect your ability to obtain credit, employment, or housing for the rest of your life.

With so much on the line, it is in your best interests to obtain experienced legal representation to help you present your defense. Grand Rapids burglary lawyers have successfully defended clients facing burglary charges arising out of a variety of situations, and will tirelessly fight for your legal rights and your freedom.

Laws in Michigan

The legal definition of burglary under Michigan law can be found in Chapter 750, Michigan Compiled Statutes. Burglary is defined as breaking into, or entering a structure without permission, with the intent to commit a felony therein.

It is important to note that actually committing a felony inside the structure is not a required element of the crime of burglary. The prosecution must only prove that the defendant entered the structure with the then-present intention of committing a felony inside in order to obtain a conviction.

Beyond the intention element, burglary requires that the defendant entered the premises without permission. Unlike some states, Michigan’s burglary statute does not cover situations in which a defendant legally entered a structure and then remained on the premises with the intent of committing a felony. This situation may arise when someone remains in a store after it has closed with the intention of stealing the merchandise.

In Michigan, a defendant may be charged with theft or attempted theft, but not burglary under these circumstances. The defendant must have unlawfully entered the premises for their actions to constitute burglary. However, if the structure unlawfully entered is a dwelling, such as a home or an apartment, the burglary constitutes a home invasion, for which more stringent penalties apply. A burglary attorney in Grand Rapids can assist an individual in understanding the specific elements of their charge.

Potential Penalties

Burglary is a felony offense, punishable by a lengthy prison sentence, the exact term of which depends on the means used to enter the premises and the circumstances of the crime. If the entry was obtained without breaking, burglary is punishable by a prison sentence of up to five years in duration, or a fine of up to $2,500.

However, if an entry was obtained with the use of explosives, a burglary conviction can result in a prison sentence of at least 15 years, and up to 30 years in duration. It constitutes a separate felony offense to knowingly possess a burglar’s tools with the intention of using them in a burglary. Due to the severity of these penalties, it is imperative that an individual contacts a Grand Rapids burglary attorney to begin preparing an effective defense.

Benefits of an Attorney

In order to obtain a burglary conviction, the prosecution must prove both that the defendant had the requisite intent, and that breaking and entering occurred. If a defendant accused of burglary does not admit that they had the required intent element at the time, the prosecution will be forced to establish their mental state through the introduction of evidence.

An experienced burglary lawyer in Grand Rapids will often be able to help their clients avoid a conviction by pointing out flaws and weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, provided their client has not previously incriminated themselves.

It is imperative that any defendant accused of burglary obtain legal assistance as soon as possible following an arrest to ensure their rights are protected at all times as they navigate the criminal justice system. For defendants with the benefit of experienced legal representation, it is often possible to have burglary charges dropped or exchanged for some lesser offense through plea bargaining.

If you have been accused of burglary in the Grand Rapids area, you need to contact a Grand Rapids burglary lawyer for help as soon as possible. Many of these cases are determined relatively quickly after the initial arrest. You will need a lawyer to not only be your advocate but to ensure your legal rights are protected and you do not unwittingly incriminate yourself.