Burglary is a crime of stealth. It involves breaking and entering into property that belongs to another, often with the intent to steal. It is a dangerous crime, especially when people are inside at the time the breaking and entering occurs. That’s where first-degree burglary comes into play in Okmulgee.
Burglary in Oklahoma
First-degree burglary in Okmulgee is defined as an illegal entry by breaking and entering or other means, into a dwelling or other structure with the intent to commit a crime inside, at a time when another person is in the dwelling. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1431
Breaking and entering an inhabited structure makes this a much more serious crime. People can and do get injured or killed during burglaries that go awry.
The statute makes it clear that the breaking and entering is any illegal entry and it can be done in a variety of ways, including:
- Forcibly bursting or breaking a wall, outer door, window, or window shutter, or the lock, bolts, or fastening of a window or door; or
- By breaking in any other manner while armed with a dangerous weapon or being assisted by one or more accomplices then actually present; or
- By picking a lock, using a false key, or by lifting a latch or opening a window.
The elements of the crime are:
- a dwelling;
- of another;
- in which a human is present; and
- with intent to commit some crime therein. OUJI-CR 5-12.
Under the statute, a dwelling can be a house or edifice, any part of which has usually been occupied by any person sleeping there at night, or any structure joined to and immediately connected with that house or edifice. This includes a garage, for instance, if it is joined to the main house. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1439
All of these elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in order for the prosecution to be successful in gaining a conviction. If any one element is left unproven, there is no conviction.
There are a number of defenses that may be available to a defendant facing a charge of first-degree burglary. Any fact that mitigates against any element of the crime is relevant to building a strong defense.
For example, permission to enter makes the entering legal. In essence, there is no “breaking.” The prosecution must also prove that the defendant had the intent to commit a crime inside. The crime could be theft, or any other crime, such as rape, kidnapping or the like.
Intent can be tricky to prove. Prosecutors often use circumstantial evidence to prove intent. Let’s say you are carrying a bag and carrying a set of lock picks and entering the property at midnight. These are facts that the prosecutor will attempt to show proves your intent to enter illegally with the intent to commit theft.
Defenses are intensely fact-bound. Be sure and discuss all the facts of your case with an experienced Okmulgee criminal defense attorney. Even the smallest facts may be important.
Penalties for Burglary
Burglary is a felony in Oklahoma, whether of the first or second degree. However, first-degree burglary degree carries a much harsh prison sentence, seven to 20 years. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1436
In addition, a conviction of first degree is subject to the 85% Rule in Oklahoma. That means, that if convicted, you will have to serve 85 percent of your sentence before becoming eligible for parole. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 13.1
If you are under investigation or are being charged for burglary, you will need an attorney knowledgeable and experienced in criminal law to help you preserve your freedom. Don’t wait. Call today.
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