Felonies come in all shapes and sizes. There are a quite wide array of thefts and different penalties for many different crimes that can all be boiled down to taking something that doesn’t belong to you. Furthermore, various states have their own definitions of what constitutes a given crime.
Burglary is commonly defined as breaking into a house and removing some of the contents without the owners’ permission. In Arizona, and many other states, burglary is broken down into three types or degrees. Third degree burglary involves breaking into a non-residential building, or a fenced residential or commercial yard or enclosed area. In order to be considered a third degree burglary, the person must have intent to commit a theft or other felony in the area that is broken into.
Second degree burglary is similar to third degree burglary, but takes place inside a residential building. So, if a person unlawfully enters a backyard of a home with the intent to commit a crime, he has committed third degree burglary, but if he continues into the house, the crime becomes a second degree burglary.
First degree is the same as third or second degree burglary, but the individual has a deadly weapon or explosive device in his possession at the time.
In many of these cases, the difference between the felony, which is burglary and a lesser charge, such as trespassing, is the intent to steal. If you have been accused of burglary, a lawyer well-versed in Arizona law, such as Guy Brown, can advise you on the best choice of action, and can help negotiate the rapids of the legal waters you’ll be thrown into.
If goods are taken, the crime will also often be considered larceny or grand theft. There are many different flavors of these as well, with distinctions being made with regard to intent, original location of the allegedly stolen items, as well as their value (both on the market in general, and with specific regard to the owner). For example, if an object is stolen from the outside of a house, the crime charged will likely be different than if the same object is taken after someone breaks in. If the person is legally allowed to be in the building, but enters by some unlawful means, or at an unlawful time, this also often complicates the charges brought against the individual. Examples of these types of situations would include an employee who steals something from a place of work, perhaps after hours. Again, consulting a trained Phoenix lawyer such as Guy Brown is you best course of action for avoiding conviction.