To be found guilty of breaking into the dwelling of another, a defendant must have had an awareness that the intrusion into the premises was unwarranted because the defendant lacked authority, license, privilege, invitation, or legality.
It is a complete defense to a charge of burglary that the defendant had both a subjective belief that the intrusion was warranted and that belief was objectively reasonable.
Burglary is an extremely serious criminal charge in Maryland. Burglary is a felony, which means you would be a convicted felon if you are found guilty. As a convicted felon, you would be unable to vote or own a firearm. Finding a job or getting into a good college would be difficult, as background checks are increasingly common not only for employment but for college applications.
Attorneys for Burglary Crimes in Baltimore, Maryland
The lawyers at James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates defend people in Baltimore, Catonsville, Annapolis, Arbutus, Bel Air, and throughout the state of Maryland who are charged with theft-related crimes such as burglary, robbery, and home invasion. The attorneys offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case.
Call 443-709-9999 today.
Maryland’s Statutory Offense of Burglary
Maryland’s statutory offense of burglary in the first degree is similar to the common law burglary, without the element of “in the nighttime.” Under Maryland law, the crime of burglary requires proof that a defendant did the following:
- broke into the dwelling of another; and
- did so with the intent to commit theft or a crime of violence.
Md. Code (2002, 2012 Repl. Vol.), section 6–202 of the Criminal Law Article.
Under Maryland law, there is a rebuttable presumption that a defendant’s entry into premises owned or leased by another is not authorized, licensed, or privileged. The defendant bears the initial burden of production to show that he had an honest and reasonable belief that his intrusion was authorized.
If the defendant satisfies that burden and generates “a genuine jury issue,” the burden shifts to the State to persuade the fact-finder either that the defendant did not actually entertain such a subjective belief OR that such a belief, even if entertained, was not objectively reasonable.
First Degree Burglary / Home Invasion in Maryland
According to the Maryland Sentencing Guidelines Database, the Maryland State Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy received information for 29 individuals sentenced in the State’s circuit courts for felony home invasion during fiscal 2016.
Prior to October 1, 2014, a person who broke and entered the dwelling of another with the intent to commit theft or a crime of violence (as defined under § 14-101 of the Criminal Law Article) was guilty of burglary in the first degree. The first-degree version of burglary is a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to 20 years.
In 2014, the Maryland legislature established the crime of felony home invasion or burglary in the first-degree statute under § 6-202. Under Chapter 238, a person who breaks and enters the dwelling of another with the intent to commit a crime of violence is guilty of felony home invasion and subject to imprisonment for up to 25 years.
This new crime for felony home invasion has the maximum