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Is Burglary a Felony in New York?

A burglary conviction is always accompanied by severe consequences. New York state laws differentiate the possible penalties for burglary by first, second, and third degree. Each comes with its own set of consequences. A variety of factors can impact the severity of your punishment, so actual penalties will vary case by case. It is imperative to acquire the services of an experienced Rockland County criminal defense attorney if you are facing felony charges related to burglary.

What Are the Penalties for a Felony Burglary Charge in New York?

There are different burglary charges in New York, ranging from a B felony (first-degree) to a D felony (third-degree). The following are the standard penalties for each tier of burglary charge in New York state.

Third-degree burglary:

  • Fines up to $5,000
  • Up to 7 years of jail time
    • For third-degree burglary, a court may decide to substitute any jail time with five years of probation, community service, additional charges, restitution, etc.

Second-degree burglary:

  • Fines up to $15,000
  • At least 3.5 years and up to 15 years of jail time

First-degree burglary:

  • Fines up to $30,000
  • At least 5 years and up to 25 years of jail time

These are generalized penalties, but individual cases will vary. If the burglar threatened or injured anyone not involved in the crime or if they were armed with a deadly weapon, it may contribute to a harsher sentence or higher fines.

What Are My Defense Options?

Depending on the amount of evidence involved, it may be difficult to get burglary charges dropped. With the help of a knowledgeable lawyer, it is possible to negotiate a lesser sentence or sometimes even have the case dismissed. Possible defense options you may consider include mistaken identity, showing a lack of intention to commit further crimes, arguing that you did not enter the property unlawfully, or negotiating for a different charge.

In many burglary cases, the burglar will try to disguise themselves by covering their face or body, making it difficult to identify who is committing the crime. If a witness mistakenly identified you it may be possible to prove that you did not commit the crime.

Keep in mind that in order to prove burglary it is necessary to prove intent to commit theft or another crime. If you can show that you did not intend to commit any further crimes then the charges may be less severe.

If you were allowed to enter the property then you could argue that you did not break and enter or trespass in any way.

If you shoplifted but are being charged with burglary your attorney could try to convince the court to charge you with shoplifting charges instead which may result in lower fines or less sentencing time.

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