Welcome to Beerup Law
Ruth Beerup is an experienced St. Charles criminal defense lawyer who has been defending her clients' rights for over 25 years. Burglary 2nd degree charges are sometimes the result of a misunderstanding or a mistake and Ruth knows how to cut through the confusion and present the facts in a way that leads to good outcomes. Even if your case is clear-cut, give her a call for a free consultation to see what she can do to protect your future.
What Does Burglary in the 2nd Degree Mean in Missouri?
According to RSMo 569.160, a person commits the offense of burglary in the second degree when he or she knowingly enters unlawfully or remains unlawfully in a building or inhabitable structure for the purpose of committing a crime therein.
The thresholds for each of the elements are pretty low. For example, if you reach through an open window to steal an item, that counts as entering. Some rather flimsy structures, such as a home-made greenhouse and an open carport, have been held to count as buildings. The intent to commit a crime can be shown by the presence of anything of value in the building. Burglary cannot be charged if you commit a crime in a place you had every right to be, such as a store (unless you have been trespassed from that store). Some of the elements of burglary 2nd degree are the same as burglary 1st degree and are discussed in more detail here.
What is the Difference Between Burglary in the 1st and 2nd Degree in Missouri?
Both burglary charges occur, basically, when a person goes into a building without permission with the intent to commit a crime. Burglary in the 1st degree, the more serious of the two, is when the person (or another participant in the crime) is armed with a deadly weapon, causes or threatens injury to another person, or there is another person in the building during the crime. The Missouri charge of burglary 1st degree is known as home invasion in many other states. Missouri does not have a separate charge for home invasion.
What is the Sentence for 2nd Degree Burglary in Missouri?
Burglary in the 2nd degree in Missouri is a class D felony punishable by up to 7 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. That does not mean that every finding of guilt will result in a prison sentence. Probation is always a possibility, and there are sentencing options that allow a person to be placed on probation with a prison sentence held in reserve if probation is not completed successfully. It is a good idea to consult with a criminal defense lawyer to see what your options are if you are facing a burglary charge.
Getting Burglary Charges Dropped
Burglary 2nd degree charges can be the result of a mistake. It is not unheard of for someone to mistakenly be somewhere they thought they had the right to be or to take something they thought they were allowed to take. Unfortunately, for most people, when they are confronted with the prospect of being charged with a serious felony they are not able to effectively communicate their version of events. That is where the services of an experienced defense attorney like Ruth Beerup can make a difference. She can talk to you on your terms, in an environment and at a pace with which you are comfortable, get your side of the story, and present the facts to a prosecutor in a way that highlights the relevant legal points.
Rather than being dropped outright, some 2nd degree burglary charges are reduced to a lesser offense after negotiation between the prosecutor and a defense attorney. This is still a great outcome. Trespass is a class B misdemeanor, usually punished by probation or a small fine, rather than a class D felony with the prospect of 7 years in prison. This is not a foregone conclusion, however. A result like this is the product of skillful negotiation by a defense lawyer who knows what they are doing.
Burglary charges don't have to be something that derails your life. You can take steps to protect your future, most importantly by hiring an experienced defense attorney who has handled burglary cases before. At Beerup Law, consultations are always free and Ruth will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Give her a call today.