Two teenagers have been arrested for burglarizing a home in Cherokee County twice in one day. According to reports, the two boys were caught breaking into a home by a neighbor. Both allegedly fled the scene once the cops arrived, but were detained later on. One of the boys is in the Cherokee County Jail, while the other has been taken to the Regional Youth Detention.
Both of the teenagers face the following charges:
- Georgia burglary
- Georgia theft by taking
- Georgia criminal attempt to commit burglary
- Georgia possession of tools to commit a crime
- Georgia possession of a weapon in the commission of a crime
- Georgia obstruction of a law enforcement officer
- Georgia possession of marijuana
- Georgia possession of drug-related objects
In today's post I will focus on the law behind burglary in Georgia. As a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney, I know that the law is complicated, and the law actually divides burglary into two different degrees.
Burglary in Georgia
The Georgia Code defines First-Degree Burglary 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.
To dissect the statute, let's make it simple. If a person enters into someone else's home, without their consent and with the intent to commit a felony or a theft, then he to she is committing first-degree burglary.
In order to be found guilty of first-degree burglary, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused person entered a house or some other structure that is someone's dwelling. On top of that, the State must also prove that the accused person had the intention to commit a felony after entering the dwelling.
Burglary does not mean only theft. There is popularly-held misconception that associates burglary with theft. However, to be charged with burglary, a person does not need to either commit or attempt to commit a theft. It is unlawful in Georgia to enter the dwelling house of another with the intent to commit a felony therein (or theft).
The legal difference between first-degree and second-degree burglary is that the structure itself has to be designed for use as the dwelling of another with first-degree burglary. For second-degree burglary, the statute is identical, however, the crime includes entering any structure, without authority, intending to commit a felony or theft therein.
Both degrees of burglary are classified as felonies in Georgia. If found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of committing burglary in Georgia, the penalty can include imprisonment of one to twenty years.
- Lack of intent to commit a felony
- Presence of consent to enter the property in question
- Voluntary intoxication in Georgia
- Breaking in but not actually entering the property
If you or a loved one has been accused of committing a criminal offense in the state of Georgia, contact our offices today, so that we can investigate your case and determine which defenses apply.