Burglary is a serious crime and frequently charged as a felony-level offense. A conviction can result in a lengthy prison sentence. Additionally, a conviction for burglary can result in losing a professional license or being considered for many jobs. If you have been arrested, charged, or questioned by police in relation to an alleged burglary, you need to speak with a Minnesota criminal defense attorney, now! Contact the Balmer Law Office for a free, confidential case evaluation. The Balmer Law Office is available via its 24-hour hotline: 612-326-4175.
Based in the southwest metro, Minneapolis-area criminal defense attorney David Balmer practices in the Twin Cities and throughout Minnesota.
The Basics of Minnesota Burglary Law
Burglary is commonly thought of as a theft related offense. And while convictions frequently involve theft as an element of the crime, you don't have to have actually stolen something for the State to convict you. Minnesota law defines burglary as the unauthorized entry into a building with the intent to commit a crime — either directly or as an accomplice (assisting another to commit a crime). The severity of the offense depends upon whether the building is a dwelling (i.e. someone’s home or temporary residence), whether the victim was present, whether the defendant was armed with a dangerous weapon, and whether an assault was committed in the building.
Burglary in the Fourth Degree
The fourth degree is the lowest level burglary offense. It is a gross misdemeanor offense, carrying a maximum sentence of 365 days in jail and a $3,000 fine. The crime involves the unauthorized entry into a building with the intent to commit (or the actual commission of) a misdemeanor offense other than theft.
Burglary in the Third Degree
Burglary in the third degree is a felony-level offense. It is defined as the unauthorized entry into a building with the intent to commit (or the actual commission of) a misdemeanor-level theft, or any form of a gross-misdemeanor or felony-level crime. The statutory maximum sentence for a conviction in the third degree is five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Burglary in the Second Degree
Burglary in the second degree is a felony-level offense. Burglary in the second degree can be charged in two circumstances. Most commonly the second degree offense is charged when one of four additional elements is present in a crime that would otherwise be charged as a third degree offense. Only one of these elements needs to be present for the crime to be charged as second degree burglary:
- the building entered was a dwelling (i.e. a permanent or even temporary place of residence),
- a portion of the building entered contains a “banking business or other business of receiving securities or other valuable papers for deposit or safekeeping” and the entry is with “force or threat of force,”
- a portion of the building entered contains a “pharmacy or other lawful business or practice in which controlled substances are routinely held or stored,” and the entry is “forcible,” or
- the defendant possessed a tool to gain access to property either while entering or while in the building.
Burglary in the second degree can also be charged when a person unlawfully enters a government building, religious establishment, or historic property with the intent either to steal something or to damage the property.
The statutory maximum sentence for a conviction in the second degree is 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
Burglary in the First Degree
Burglary in the first degree is a felony-level offense. Minnesota statutes define the crime as the unauthorized entry into a building with the intent to commit (or the actual commission of) a crime and one of the following three additional elements:
- the building is a dwelling (a permanent or temporary place of residence) and another person (other than an accomplice) is present,
- the defendant possesses a dangerous weapon, or anything fashioned to make the victim believe it is a dangerous weapon, or
- the defendant assaults a person in the building or while on property related to the building.
Unlike the other levels of burglary offenses, a first degree conviction carries a mandatory minimum sentence of six months in jail — the "presumptive" normal sentence is four years in prison! And the statutory maximum sentence is 20 years in prison and a $35,000 fine.
Consequences of a Burglary Conviction in Minnesota
Loss of Right to possess a firearm
Burglary in the first through third degrees is defined as a crime of violence. A conviction for a crime of violence results in immediate revocation of your right to possess a firearm. A fourth degree (gross misdemeanor) burglary conviction results in a three year revocation of your right to possess a firearm.
A conviction, or other disposition resolving the case, may result in immigration consequences for both undocumented aliens and lawful permanent residents.
Loss of Right to Vote
In Minnesota, a felony conviction results in the loss of certain civil rights. Convicted felons may not vote or serve on a jury.
Difficulty Getting a Job and Loss of Professional License
A burglary conviction will likely result in the loss of a professional license. Additionally, a conviction will obviously make it more difficult to get a job.
Contact the Balmer Law Office — Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one has been arrested, charged, or questioned by police about a burglary anywhere in Minnesota, Minneapolis criminal defense attorney David Balmer will review your case and discuss your rights and possible defenses to the charges. Contact the Balmer Law Office for a free, confidential case evaluation. The Balmer Law Office is available via its 24-hour hotline: 612-326-4175.