When Breaking and Entering Becomes Burglary

Charges of breaking and entering can quickly escalate to burglary charges whether any additional crimes were actually committed or not. Penalties for breaking and entering convictions are usually less severe than penalties for burglary convictions. Although both offenses can have serious penalties, the severity of the punishment often depends on the intent of the crime.

Determining the Intent of the Crime

Breaking and entering and burglary are both serious charges, but a burglary conviction carries more severe penalties. Burglary is defined by law as an activity where someone illegally enters a structure or building with the intent to commit a crime such as theft. When three elements are present, a lesser breaking and entering charge can be elevated to a burglary conviction, a serious felony offense that requires legal representation by a felony lawyer who handles criminal cases. If the following elements apply, an individual may be charged with burglary:

  • The accused individual must have entered a structure without consent.
  • He or she must have done so with the intention of committing a crime or a crime must have been committed.The criminal activity often includes the theft of something valuable, but the item may not have actually been stolen from the premises.
  • The accused individual must physically enter the property.

The primary goal of the prosecution in proving burglary is the intent behind the crime. This is often shown through evidence gathered at the scene such as burglary tools and concealment clothing.

Burglary Charges in Minnesota

There are four degrees of penalties for burglary convictions in Minnesota. Penalties range from fines up to $35,000 and up to 20 years in prison for a first-degree burglary conviction. For fourth-degree burglary convictions, there are fines up to $3,000 and sentences up to one year in prison.

In Minnesota, any type of home invasion is considered burglary, rather than breaking and entering, with penalties that fall under first-degree and second-degree charges. When a burglary occurs, the state imposes heavier sentences for offenders who violate a person’s home or business. Burglary and robbery are often thought of as the same crime, but robbery often involves theft with associated violence or the threat of violence. Breaking and entering into a home or commercial building could result in a robbery charge with severe penalties. If a weapon is used during breaking and entering, burglary, or robbery, first-degree felony convictions with up to 20 years in prison will likely apply.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Confidential informants may provide integral information to help build criminal investigations, but how reliable is that information when they are receiving payment for their services? To protect them, state law requires the identity of informants be kept confidential. For those facing criminal charges, however, this creates challenges in questioning the accuracy and validity of the information given at trial.
Stay calm and compose after getting accused of a crime but not charged in Minneapolis, MN. Do not discuss the facts of your case with anyone, including your relatives and family members. Hire a criminal defense attorney with a demonstrated record of winning cases like yours. Your attorney will discuss your rights, guide you on how to cooperate with law enforcement within the legal boundaries, and build a solid defense strategy to fight the charges you could face in the future.
Expungement and sealing of records in Minnesota affect how your criminal history appears to government agencies and the public. The main difference between the two legal actions is that expungement permanently removes past arrests, criminal charges, or convictions from private and public databases, while sealing hides the criminal record from the public. Courts, government entities, and law enforcement agencies can access sealed criminal records.