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Property Crimes

Property crimes include many common crimes relating to theft or destruction of someone else's property. They can range from lower level offenses such as shoplifting or vandalism to high-level felonies including armed robbery and arson. Some such crimes do not require the offender to make off with stolen goods or even to harm a victim - such as burglary, which only requires unlawful entry with the intent to commit a crime. Others require the actual taking of money or property. Some, such as robbery, require a victim present at the time of the crime. Most property crimes include a spectrum of degrees depending on factors including the amount stolen and use of force or arms in theft related cases, and actual or potential bodily injury in property destruction crimes such as arson. Below you'll find more information on specific property crimes.

Burglary Defenses

There are several defenses to the crime of burglary. The one most commonly used is lack of intent to commit a crime. Typically, a burglar intends to steal something, but it also is burglary to enter a building with the intent to commit another crime, such as assaulting and causing injury to someone inside. The crime of burglary does not require the intended crime to be successfully complete. The prosecutor must prove that the defendant entered the structure for the purpose of committing theft or another felony. This rules out any case in which the defendant did not form the requisite intent until after entering the structure.

Burglary Penalties and Sentencing

A burglary conviction comes with several possible penalties, though the possible sentences for burglary convictions differ widely among states. Depending on the jurisdiction as well as the circumstances, burglary may either be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony and a judge will sentence the defendant accordingly. Judges will also consider the statutory ranges in addition to any aggravating and mitigating factors that might be present in the case. Typically, a burglary conviction carries a wide range of incarceration options including years in prison, a huge fine, court-mandated restitution to the victim and a lengthy probation period.

Can I Be Accused of Stealing Something I Borrowed If I Forget to Return It?

Maybe. Anyone can make the honest mistake of forgetting to return a borrowed item. Time passes, memory slips and before you know it, the person from whom you borrowed the item will wonder whether he or she will ever get their goods back. The key determining factor is what your intent was. In order to be guilty of stealing, you need to have the intent to never return the item to its rightful owner at the time you begin borrowing the item. If you legitimately forgot to return a borrowed item to its rightful owner, then you lacked specific intent to steal the item.

How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You

Property crimes are serious, and you should never make any decisions about your case without first talking to an experienced criminal defense attorney. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can evaluate the strength of the evidence against you, assess any defenses you might have, and give you advice based on the laws of your state. Most importantly, an attorney in your area will know how judges and prosecutors handle cases like yours. Contact a qualified criminal lawyer to make sure your rights are protected.

Learn About Property Crimes