The Right Defense Strategy Can Make Burglary Charges Vanish [infographic]

When a person is charged with burglary in Minnesota, implementing the right defense strategy can mean the difference between a non-guilty verdict and years in prison.

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Table of Contents

Defending Against Burglary Charges

Burglary is defined by law as unlawfully entering a habitation or structure with the intent to commit a crime. In Minnesota, burglary can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony offense, depending on the circumstances of the crime. Felony burglary charges require an aggressive defense strategy that can disprove guilt by eliminating one or more of the key elements of the crime – criminal intent, motive, the severity of the crime, and victim injuries. Under Minnesota law, a person charged with first-degree felony burglary faces $35,000 in fines and up to 20 years in prison.

When all of the key elements of burglary can be proven, the possibility of a conviction is high. If the burglary suspect was arrested with tools on his/her person or is caught in the act by video surveillance, a guilty verdict is likely. To defend against burglary charges, options may include claiming innocence for the crime, claiming no personal knowledge of the activity, or claiming theft or robbery which carry lighter sentences. Whatever course of action is taken, a criminal defense attorney with the right strategy may be able to get burglary charges dismissed by casting doubt on the key elements.

  • Lack of Evidence – The prosecution has the burden of showing evidence to prove criminal intent, motive, and personal involvement in the crime. If there is insufficient evidence or the evidence has been compromised, charges may be dropped.
  • Strong Alibi – If there is concrete evidence and/or witness statements that prove mistaken identity or that the suspect was not at the scene of the crime, charges may be dropped.
  • Entering the Premises – Burglary charges only apply to certain habitations and structures. If the property in question doesn’t fit the description for burglary under Minnesota statutes, lesser charges may apply. If it can be proven that the property owner gave permission to enter the property, a consent defense can be used.

If pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of trespassing or petty theft is an option, penalties will be lighter than burglary. A fourth-degree misdemeanor burglary conviction carries a one-year jail term, but first, second, and third-degree burglary is charged as a felony with prison time from 5 to 20 years.

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

One of the questions people facing a criminal charge ask is: How long does a criminal case take? The timeline of your criminal case in Minnesota will depend on the nature and severity of the alleged crime, the speed of the criminal justice system, the duration of the trial, and whether an appeal will be necessary. Delays at any stage of the criminal justice process may impact how long your criminal case will last. Generally, however, misdemeanor cases may resolve within weeks or months, while felony cases may linger in courts for up to a year.
People accused, arrested, or charged with a crime often ask, “How much does a criminal defense lawyer cost in Minneapolis, MN?” It is difficult to accurately determine how much a criminal defense lawyer will cost. The reason is that numerous factors impact the cost of legal representation in criminal matters. These factors include the type and severity of criminal charges, the lawyer’s experience and reputation, required time and effort, and geographical location.
Social media can have legal implications, particularly when it comes to criminal cases. Since its advent, social media has become a powerful tool for communication and self-expression. As of 2023, an estimated 4.9 billion people worldwide use social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to share thoughts, experiences, and moments from their lives. However, in this digital age, social media activity can be used as evidence in criminal cases in Minneapolis and elsewhere.