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Protect Your Rights in a Burglary Case

An Indianapolis Burglary Attorney Can Help Find Holes in the State’s Case

If you or someone you know is facing burglary charges, it’s important to stay calm and find the help you need.

There are several ways to fight burglary charges, and the lawyers at Razumich & Associates can help. The first thing to remember is that there is a significant difference between having stolen property and being guilty of burglary.

The police may get you to confess or make a statement about the burglary. If a statement was obtained illegally, it cannot be used against you. Another strategy in the prosecution’s case is to use a confidential informant. They often have a natural incentive to skew the truth for their benefit. These are not strong forms of evidence.

Quick Summary:

  • Indiana burglary law is complex and goes beyond just theft.
  • Burglary can involve breaking with intent to commit a crime, not just stealing.
  • Unlike TV, solving burglary often relies on tracing stolen items, not forensics.
  • Protecting your rights is crucial – a burglary conviction can be serious.
  • The article explains Indiana’s burglary laws and how charges are determined.
  • It also covers defenses, the burden of proof, and potential penalties.

Understanding burglary laws in Indiana is important to know what to do if you are accused. Knowing your rights, staying calm, and getting help from a lawyer can help you protect yourself and achieve the best outcome in your case.

What Burglary Is, and What It Isn’t?

Burglary is defined under Indiana law as breaking a building or structure of another person intending to commit a felony or theft inside it. Police dramas and other television shows would lead you to believe that the police often use forensic evidence to break the case – but that’s not how these cases typically end.

A burglar is most often caught by tracing a stolen item to an individual through a pawn shop. Too often, these cases rely on evidence that is obtained unconstitutionally or isn’t very strong in the first place.

If you’ve been charged with burglary, make sure you do what you can to protect your rights. A guilty conviction can be devastating for your future.

Understanding It More

In Indiana, burglary applies to entering any structure, not just a residence, intending to commit a crime. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Building or Structure: It can be a store, school, houseboat, tent, or campsite.
  • Illegal Entry: You must enter without permission. This includes private buildings, public buildings closed to the public, or open areas intending to commit a crime (like shoplifting). Even entering a locked or restricted area within a public building (like an employee break room) is illegal. Reaching into a building is also considered entry.
  • No Breaking Required: Indiana doesn’t require breaking in, unlike some states. Simply opening a door or window is enough.
  • Intent to Commit a Crime: You must intend to commit a felony or theft upon entering. This could be stealing something, committing assault, or damaging property. The intent to commit the crime must be there before or at the time of entry.

What are the Burglary Laws in Indiana?

While burglary is commonly linked with theft, it can be legally implicated in connection with any felony or intended felony. As per Ind. Code § 35-43-2-1, a burglar is defined as someone who unlawfully enters another person’s building or structure to commit a felony within it. This offense can be prosecuted as a Level 5 felony.

Nonetheless, burglary charges can escalate to more severe felonies depending on various circumstances and factors. These distinctions are elaborated upon below:

  • If the burglary involves breaking into a residence or dwelling, it can be prosecuted as a Level 4 felony.
  • Should this criminal activity lead to serious bodily harm to anyone other than the defendant, it escalates to a Level 1 felony.
  • A burglary is categorized as a Level 3 felony if it results in bodily injury to someone other than the defendant.
  • If the perpetrator is armed with a deadly weapon during the burglary or if it results in serious bodily harm to someone other than the defendant, it can be charged as a Level 2 felony.

The severity of the penalties associated with these charges varies based on the felony classification, but all carry the potential for significant prison sentences.

What are the Defenses to Burglary?

Here are some defenses against burglary charges under Indiana law besides mistaken identity and alibi:

  • Lack of Intent: You didn’t intend to steal or commit a crime when you entered.  For instance, someone seeking shelter from the cold who later steals food wouldn’t have burglary intent upon entry.
  • Mistake of Fact: You believed your actions were lawful. Imagine someone like Angel in your example.  He might argue he honestly thought he had permission to enter the garage (mistake of fact) due to his friend’s lie. This could negate burglary intent.
  • Permission to Enter: You had the owner’s permission to be there. This is a straightforward defense if true.
  • Not a Building:  The structure entered wasn’t considered a building under Indiana law.  While carport definitions vary by state, Indiana’s definition might exclude carports from burglary charges.

In Indiana, the prosecution must prove that you intended to commit a crime when you entered the building or structure. This means they need to convince the jury that you had this criminal intent beyond a reasonable doubt.  If you have a credible defense that casts doubt on your intent, it can significantly weaken the prosecution’s case.

What are the Penalties For Burglary?

Indiana burglary penalties differ based on the severity of the crime. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Prison Sentences: Burglary convictions are typically felonies in Indiana, resulting in prison sentences exceeding one year. Depending on the case, the sentences can range from several years to 20 years or more.
  • Fines: Burglary can also lead to significant fines.  Felony convictions can carry fines of up to $100,000, while misdemeanors might involve fines under $1,000.
  • Restitution: Even without property damage, burglary can lead to restitution orders.  This means reimbursing the victim for stolen or damaged property. Restitution is separate from any fines imposed.
  • Probation:  Probation is sometimes offered alongside or instead of prison time. Probation requires following specific court-ordered conditions, such as regular meetings with a probation officer, drug testing, or even home searches.  Violating these conditions can result in serving the original prison sentence.

The penalties you might face for burglary in Indiana depend on the specific circumstances of your case.

What Should I Do If I Am Accused Of Burglary Or Arrested For Burglary Charges In Indiana?

Being accused of burglary can be frightening. Here’s what to do in Indiana to protect yourself:

  • Stay Calm: Don’t panic!  Law enforcement might try to use your anxiety against you. Breathe and stay collected.
  • Know Your Rights: You have the right to remain silent and to consult with an attorney.  You can assert these rights anytime, even if not formally read your Miranda rights.
  • Ask About Your Status: Politely inquire if you can leave or under arrest. Police are required to clarify your situation.
  • Demand a Lawyer: Clearly state you want a lawyer and won’t speak without them. Repeat this if necessary. Once you request a lawyer, the police cannot question you further.
  • Contact an Attorney: Once you have a lawyer, they can handle the situation and fight for the best outcome, potentially including dismissal, acquittal, or reduced charges.

An Indianapolis criminal defense attorney can be your strong advocate throughout this process. Don’t hesitate to seek legal representation to protect your rights.

Why Do I Need an Indianapolis Burglary Attorney?

You may need an Indianapolis burglary attorney for several important reasons:

  • Defense Strategy: A skilled attorney can assess the details of your case, identify potential defenses, and develop a strategic approach to defend you against the charges.
  • Protection of Rights: Your attorney will ensure your rights are protected throughout the legal process, including during police questioning, evidence collection, and court proceedings.
  • Negotiation Skills: Your attorney can negotiate with prosecutors for reduced charges, plea bargains, or alternative sentencing options, potentially minimizing the consequences of the charges you’re facing.
  • Court Representation: If your case goes to trial, your attorney will represent you in court, presenting evidence, cross-examining witnesses, and advocating for your innocence or mitigating circumstances.
  • Minimization of Penalties: In the event of a conviction, your attorney can work to minimize the penalties you face, such as fines, probation, or jail time, and explore options for rehabilitation or alternative sentencing.

Hiring an Indianapolis burglary attorney can significantly increase your chances of achieving a favorable outcome in your case and mitigating the potential consequences of burglary charges.

Call Our Indianapolis Burglary Attorney Now!

At Razumich & Associates, we look at every burglary charge to determine the basic facts surrounding the case and what your best defense will be. We look at:

  • Whether the police can place you at the scene and how
  • Whether a client was properly advised about their rights before questioning
  • The rewards given to an informant based on the information given
  • Whether there is sufficient information to let our clients know they are in possession of stolen property

If you’ve been charged with burglary, you deserve the best defense possible. You deserve an Indianapolis burglary attorney who will treat you as though you are innocent until proven guilty. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

Let Us Help You WIN Your Case!

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