Burglary Lawyers in Topeka
Most people know that entering property without permission and stealing items from others is likely to land them in trouble but there is frequently confusion between burglary, robbery, breaking and entering, and so on.
Related crimes like criminal trespass and aggravating factors for burglary and robbery offenses also complicate matters.
Regardless, if you are accused of any of these crimes, you need to seek reliable legal advice. The impact of a criminal conviction upon your future is likely to be significant.
At Irigonegaray, Turney, & Revenaugh, LLP in Topeka, our experienced burglary defense lawyers will protect your rights and start working on a defense that protects your freedom.
What is Burglary?
The crime of burglary in its most simple form involves being in a place that you have no right to be in with the intent to commit a crime.
Under Kansas Statutes Chapter 21 § 21-5807, the offense is outlined as follows:
“Burglary is knowingly and without authority entering into or remaining within any:
(a) Building, manufactured home, mobile home, tent or other structure which is a dwelling, with intent to commit a felony, theft or sexual battery therein;
(b) building, manufactured home, mobile home, tent or other structure which is not a dwelling, with intent to commit a felony, theft or sexual battery therein; or
(c) motor vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, railroad car or other means of conveyance of persons or property, with intent to commit a felony, theft or sexual battery therein.”
To be charged with burglary, a person does not need to have broken into a property – nor does anyone need to be present there.
If the door is unlocked and you do not have permission to enter, and you do so with the intent to commit a crime, you can still be charged with burglary.
Similarly, if you fail to leave the premises after being asked to do so by the property owner, who has previously granted you permission to enter, you may still be charged with burglary.
What is aggravated burglary?
While burglary is serious enough in itself, a charge of aggravated burglary means that you face even more stringent penalties if convicted.
A person can be charged with aggravated burglary if, in addition to the stipulations for simple burglary, he or she has the intent to commit a crime against a person on that property.
The Kansas statutes define aggravated burglary as:
Knowingly and without authority entering into or remaining within any building, manufactured home, mobile home, tent or other structure, or any motor vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, railroad car or other means of conveyance of persons or property in which there is a human being, with intent to commit a felony, theft or sexual battery therein.
Criminal trespass involves being in a place where you have no right to be. Unlike the charge of burglary, an intent to commit a crime is not necessary with this charge.
Often, if there is not enough evidence to prove intent to commit a crime, a person will be charged with the lesser offense of criminal trespass.
While this can be a positive outcome for the defendant in some cases, it is still a crime and a conviction can lead to jail time. It will also result in a lifelong criminal record unless your lawyer can convince the judge otherwise.
Penalties for burglary in Kansas
The crime of simple burglary has several penalties associated with it, depending on the location and circumstances of the incident.
Burglary is generally charged as a severity level 7 person felony if committed in a fixed structure like a home, with a maximum prison sentence of 34 months.
For other locations, it is usually a severity level 7/9 nonperson felony, with a maximum prison sentence of 17 months.
If a firearm was taken or it is classed as an aggravated burglary, this is considered much more serious and the maximum punishment is increased to 136 months (a level 5 person felony).
If you have no prior convictions, a clean criminal record and good legal representation, you may be able to escape prison and serve a probationary sentence for simple burglary.
If, however, you have a prior conviction for burglary, any prior felony conviction or if someone was present in the property at the time of the offense, there may be no escaping prison time due to the mandatory sentencing laws in Kansas.
What defines robbery in Kansas?
Robbery is another related theft crime that is commonly prosecuted in Kansas.
Robbery is committed when somebody takes or attempts to take something of value from someone to deprive them of it permanently – by force, the threat of force, or making the person fear for their safety.
Unlike burglary, it involves the use of violence or intimidation of the victim and is, therefore, treated more harshly by the justice system than burglary.
Like with the other theft crimes, robbery crimes have different levels of severity.
Crimes against persons and aggravated robbery
Generally speaking, crimes against persons in Kansas are treated more harshly than simple crimes against property.
Aggravated robbery is a more serious form of robbery where a person commits the crime armed with a deadly weapon such as a firearm or an item that appears to be a deadly weapon.
If the defendant inflicted bodily harm upon a person during the commission of the robbery, this is also an aggravated version of the offense.
A person convicted of robbery can face up to 34 months in prison and a maximum fine of $300,000 while aggravated robbery may incur a penalty of up to 61 months in prison (plus a $300,000 fine).
Defending burglary charges in Kansas
If you are charged with burglary in Kansas, you need to take decisive action to protect yourself against potential life-changing consequences.
At ITR Law in Topeka, our burglary lawyers are experienced at defending those accused of such crimes. We will work tirelessly to clear your name and reduce the consequences for your future.
Pedro Irigonegaray is one of the most experienced, knowledgeable, professional and compassionate attorneys I have ever known. When you need legal advice or someone to fight for you, get the best. Talk to Mr. Irgonegaray.
Very helpful. Very friendly. Very personable. Even if you need to know which direction to go with your issue, they’ll help show you the way even if it means you don’t need to go through them. We need more kind people like this!
I have known Pedro for many years. A true gentleman, capable and ethical attorney. Glad to see the firm expand with more talented and ethical attorneys. A real asset to the Topeka legal community.
Very impressed with their attention to detail, prompt service and professionalism. Highly recommend.
Passion for everyone’s rights, especially — but not exclusively — LGBTQ.
A rigorous defense
Our attorneys’ experience in criminal defense means that, if we take your case on, we are confident of preparing a rigorous defense.
We will focus on key areas such as the following:
- The precise evidence against you
- The credibility of accusers and/or witnesses
- How the evidence was collected by criminal investigators
- How you were informed of your legal rights by the police
- Interrogation procedures and other protocols
- Your state of mental health at the time of the alleged crime
- Whether there are other factors that explain your alleged actions
In this way, we will build a robust case that will stand up to scrutiny and provide you with the best chance of a favorable outcome.