Georgia Criminal Defense Blog

Man’s Recent Arrest Provides Example of Burglary in Georgia

Posted by Richard Lawson | Mar 17, 2018 | 0 Comments

A young man, Darrius Vassar, has been charged regarding multiple church burglaries in Clayton County. There have been multiple church burglaries reported and investigated in the county since February 21st. After investigating multiple surveillance videos and linking pawned items at different pawn stores in the area, authorities identified Vassar.

What constitutes burglary in Georgia?

Georgia law divides burglary in Georgia into two different degrees. 

First-Degree Burglary is defined by Georgia law as “when, without authority and with the intent to commit a felony or theft therein, he or she enters or remains within an occupied, unoccupied, or vacant dwelling house of another or any building, vehicle, railroad car, watercraft, aircraft, or other such structure designed for use as the dwelling of another.” O.C.G.A. §16-7-1(b).  

Simply, if a person enters into someone's home, without their consent or authority, with the intent to commit a felony or a theft, then he is committing first-degree burglary. 

There are some important requirements to be convicted of first-degree burglary.

  • First, you have to enter into a dwelling house, building, vehicle, or other structure. This structure can be occupied or unoccupied.
  • Second, you have to have the intent to commit a felony. Most people believe that the felony is limited to theft or actually stealing something. However, you can actually be convicted of burglary if you merely had the intention of kidnapping, raping, or assaulting another person. It's important to know, you don't actually have to take anything to be convicted of first degree burglary.

The only difference between first-degree and second-degree burglary is that the structure itself has to be designed for use as the dwelling of another. 

In second-degree burglary, it's the act of entering into any structure, regardless of whether or not it's utilized as a dwelling, with the intent to commit a theft or some other kind of felony. According to Georgia law, "when, without authority and with the intent to commit a felony or theft therein, he or she enters or remains within an occupied, unoccupied, or vacant building, structure, vehicle, railroad car, watercraft, or aircraft." O.C.G.A. §16-7-1(c).

What is the penalty for a burglary conviction in Georgia?

Some states allow a burglary charge to be a misdemeanor. However not in Georgia, both degrees of burglary are deemed felonies. If you are found guilty of burglary for the first time, you will receive a sentence of one to twenty years of imprisonment. For a second conviction, you could receive a sentence of anywhere from two to twenty years of imprisonment. A third conviction of burglary elevates to a possible sentence from five to twenty years. 

If you or a loved one has been charged with burglary in Georgia, you need a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer who knows that just because someone has been accused of a crime doesn't mean they're guilty. We will explore all potential Georgia Criminal Defenses and best defend your freedom.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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