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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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

Knowing how to choose a criminal defense lawyer in Minneapolis, MN, can help you hire a lawyer who will prepare an effective defense strategy and fight for the best result from your case. One of the crucial tips when selecting a criminal defense lawyer is to vet those with relevant experience in cases like yours. You can only do this when you thoroughly understand the charges you are facing.
People anticipating an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota, might ask, “What is the role of a defense attorney during an arrest?” A skilled criminal defense attorney can explain your options, ensure the police follow the rules, and protect your rights. The attorney will build a solid defense, talk to the prosecutor, and fight for your best interests.
Knowing when to hire a criminal lawyer for your case in Minnesota can help protect your constitutional rights and turn the odds in your favor. You should retain a criminal lawyer immediately after learning you are under investigation, get arrested, or are charged with a crime. Seasoned criminal lawyers understand the criminal justice system, can build a winning defense strategy, and aggressively push for a positive outcome of your case.