What is Aggravated Burglary?

Burglar trying to open a safe

A burglary charge can be a pretty devastating charge to have against you. They certainly have stiff ramifications in terms of possible time in prison or even just the fine that you could have to pay. But as bad as burglary is, it isn’t the worst charge.

Not when you consider aggravated burglary. This charge is like an upgraded version of burglary and as such it can carry so frighteningly serious consequences. Let’s take a look at how aggravated burglary works, the punishments it carries with it, how an aggravated burglary charge is handled, and, finally, the three things you should do as soon as you’re charged with aggravated burglary.

What Falls Under Aggravated Burglary?

Aggravated burglary is not a charge that you will find in every state. However, along with our state of Ohio, you’ll find it in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Montano, New Mexico, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming. Yet while many states lack an aggravated burglary charge they do allow for burglary charges to be upgraded to worse crimes when there are aggravated elements present in the crime.

It is these aggravating elements which are important in distinguishing burglary from aggravated burglary. An easy way to remember the difference between burglary and aggravated burglary is to consider aggravated burglary as having an element of violence present.

In Ohio aggravated burglary is defined under Section 2911.11 as occurring when:

A person uses force or stealth or deception in order to trespass into another’s home, either along or working with another, with the express intent to commit a crime of theft. This is what is necessary for burglary. The crime is upgraded to aggravated burglary when…

  • The offender attempts, threatens or inflicts physical harm onto another person.
  • The offended is armed with a deadly weapon, has a deadly weapon nearby or somewhere on their person.

Keep in mind that other states will have their own definitions as to what constitutes aggravated burglary but you’ll find them to be quite similar to Ohio’s definition. Again, it is easy to remember that aggravated burglary is a burglary that has some form of violence attached to it.

What Punishments are there for Aggravated Burglary?

As a rule, the punishments for aggravated burglary are built on top of the punishments for burglary itself. In Ohio, burglary is a felony of the second degree if it is committed with someone else present and it can result in two to eight years in prison and/or up to $15,000 in fines.

Burglary is a felony of the third degree when it is committed without anyone present in the building. This results in a prison sentence of only from one year up to five years and the possibility of a fine no more than $10,000. The possible fine and prison time is further reduced if it is simply trespassing into another’s home while they’re present.

Aggravated burglary carries the worst punishments however. It happens when there is an element of violence or the threat therein and it results in a prison term as short as three years but as long as ten years and you may be fined up to $20,000 on top of that. It’s quite the punishment and a prime reason to hire a great criminal defense lawyer in Delaware.

Aggravated burglary is often just one of a slew of charges leveled against a defendant because the aggravating circumstances are often enough to elicit additional charges. In cases where this has happened the consequences for the crime itself may be much worse because the aggravated burglary charge is only one of the punishments being handed out.

How Does an Aggravated Burglary Charge Work?

To understand an aggravated burglary charge it is a smart idea to first start with a burglary charge itself. A common strategy for dealing with an aggravated burglary is to argue that there was not an intent to commit a violent crime. Intention is a very important element that separates aggravated burglary from a regular burglary. Showing that the defendant entered with the intention to commit a misdemeanor theft could be the best route to getting off from an aggravated burglary charge.

Getting off from the burglary charge itself may be quite difficult, especially depending on the evidence that there is against the defendant. Getting the crime lowered to a lesser crime will still result in a punishment but it could say thousands of dollars in fines, see a reduced prison sentence or even no prison sentence at all.

Keep in mind that showing the defendant meant only to commit a misdemeanor theft is not a way to sweep other crimes committed in conjunction with the burglary under the rug. If an assault, sexual assault or homicide is committed in the course of the burglary then it is a lot harder to argue down from an aggravated burglary, even if the original intention of the defendant was to simply commit a misdemeanor theft.

What Should I Do If I’m Charged with Aggravated Burglary?

An aggravated burglary charge cannot be taken lightly. The consequences of being found guilty are far too severe to not be taken seriously. If you are accused of an aggravated burglary you are going to want to get yourself further educated on how your state handles burglary charges, as well as aggravated burglary charges.

Make sure that you understand all the elements at play in your case. To do this it is important to get a copy of your offense report. This will give you the relevant information from a legal perspective and you can use it to start developing a strategy for your defense.

You’re also going to need to hire an experienced defense attorney who will be able to help you develop that defense. That’s where The Law Office of Brian Jones, LLC comes in. We have experience with cases of aggravated burglary and we’re ready to help you. Give us a call at (740) 883-3400.

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