Burglary is a crime that is more common than you think. Did you know, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation reported in 2015 a burglary occurred every 20 seconds in the United States? Those are some scary statistics. In the United States, all states have incorporated the basic concept of burglary into their penal codes, though most have different interpretations. As a part of the definition of burglary, it is broken down into several degrees, depending on the severity of the crime. One common charge associated with burglary is “second-degree burglary”.
A Broad Look at Burglary
Before defining second-degree burglary, let’s first look at the formal definition of burglary. For this offense to have occurred, a person must have unlawfully entered and/or remained in a home, business, or other property, without the owner’s permission with the intent to commit a crime. Even if they didn’t end up committing the crime, just entering with the intent typically counts as a burglary. Crimes that fall under this definition (depending on specific state laws) include:
- Intent to steal property
- Stalking a person on the premises
- Causing harm to someone inside
- Intent to cause arson
Doors or windows don’t have to be busted in either, in some states it could be a person entered through an unlocked door with nefarious intentions. The owner does not have to be home for burglary to have been committed against them (unlike the crime of robbery – check out this post to learn the difference).
So, What is Second Degree Burglary, Anyway?
Each state looks at second-degree burglary differently, so to fully understand this charge, it’s important to look at individual state laws to see how each jurisdiction defines it. Depending on state law, some second-degree burglary variations include:
- Breaking into a dwelling, office, shed, barn, boat, car, or other structure and, only upon getting inside, formed an intent to commit the crime
- Committed the crime without violence or the victim was not present when the burglary occurred
- A weapon was present during the unlawful entry
- Burglar entered a commercial building without authorization
- Burglar entered a residential home or property
You should know, regardless of state, first-degree burglary is always the most serious of burglary charges, usually meaning the crime was premeditated and probably involved some form of violence.
What is the Punishment for Second-Degree Burglary?
If a person is convicted of second-degree burglary by a judge or jury, he or she will be sentenced under local applicable laws. This crime is almost always charged as a felony (with a few state exceptions). Offenders typically receive jail time and are ordered to pay fines and/or restitution. When sentencing, the court considers:
- Severity of the crime
- How much the stolen property is worth (if applicable)
- Previous criminal history
- If violence took place during the crime
Burglary is a frightening experience and one that makes a victim feel violated. A monitored home security program can lessen the chances of becoming a victim of burglary or other related crimes. In a 2014 study, convicted burglars said before burglarizing a home, they looked for alarms, cameras, and surveillance equipment.
Most burglars would try to determine if an alarm was present before attempting a burglary. Among those that determined that an alarm was present after initiating a burglary, about half would discontinue the attempt. – University of North Carolina at Charlotte Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology [PDF]
Interested in learning more about home security? Call Protect America for a free quote today!