Maryland burglary charges usually involve breaking and entering a building with the intent to commit a crime. In Maryland, first degree burglary, second degree burglary, and third degree burglary are felonies. Fourth degree burglary is a misdemeanor. Because burglary offenses are often serious felonies involving theft or violence, the charge itself can cause damage to your reputation or the loss of your job, and a conviction could result in a lengthy term of imprisonment. If you are not a citizen, being found guilty of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th degree burglary may cause you to be deported.
A good lawyer can greatly increase your chances of success. I have years of experience getting charges dropped and successfully keeping Maryland residents out of jail on burglary charges and in general. If you are charged with burglary, contact me immediately at (301) 556‑8709.
Maximum Penalties For 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Degree Burglary in Maryland:
- Burglary 1st Degree, With Intent to Commit Theft: felony, up to 20 years incarceration
- Burglary 1st Degree, With Intent to Commit a Crime of Violence: felony, up to 25 years incarceration
- Burglary 2nd Degree: felony, up to 15 years incarceration
- Burglary 2nd Degree, With Intent to Steal a Firearm: felony, up to 20 years incarceration and a fine of $10,000
- Burglary 3rd Degree: felony, up to 10 years incarceration
- Burglary 4th Degree: misdemeanor, up to 3 years incarceration
- Burglary 4th Degree, Possession of Burglar’s Tools: misdemeanor, up to 3 years incarceration
First degree burglary is the breaking and entering of a dwelling of another person, with the intent to commit a theft or a crime of violence. A dwelling is a place where people live. First degree burglary with intent to commit theft is a felony punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment. First degree burglary with intent to commit a crime of violence is punishable by up to 25 years imprisonment. 1st degree burglary is generally considered to be the most serious burglary crime. A burglary of a dwelling is more likely to result in an encounter with one of the residents, which may become dangerous, or even deadly, which is why it is often seen as more serious, even if the intent is only to steal property.
Second degree burglary is the breaking and entering of a storehouse of another person, with the intent to commit a theft, a crime of violence, or an arson. Maryland’s definition of a storehouse is very broad. Buildings, structures, piers, railroad cars, trailers, boats, and aircraft all fall within Maryland’s definition of a storehouse. Just about anything that is not a dwelling may be considered to be a storehouse, even a bicycle shed. Second degree burglary is a felony punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment, or up to 20 years imprisonment if the breaking and entering was committed with the intent to steal, take, or carry away a firearm.
Third degree burglary is the breaking and entering of a dwelling of another person with the intent to commit any crime. Third degree burglary is a felony punishable up by to 10 years imprisonment. If you are charged with 1st degree burglary, you are almost always going to be charged with 3rd degree burglary as well, as it is a lesser offense contained within 1st degree burglary.
Fourth degree burglary in Maryland can be any of four different crimes, all of which are misdemeanors punishable by up to three years imprisonment. If you are charged with 1st or 2nd degree burglary, you will also often be charged with 4th degree burglary as well, as it is a lesser included offense.
Breaking and entering the home of another person is fourth degree burglary, even without the intent to commit another crime. Breaking and entering the storehouse of another person is a fourth degree burglary, even without the intent to commit another crime. Drunk or drugged people who go in to the wrong building thinking it is their own often get charged with fourth degree burglary under this theory. People that are charged with fourth degree burglary without being charged with 1st or 2nd degree burglary as well are often charged under this form of 4th degree burglary.
Being in or on the surrounding land belonging to a dwelling or storehouse of another person with intent to commit theft is a fourth degree burglary. If the State is able to prove that, they are usually also going to charge you with 1st or 2nd degree attempted burglary as well.
Possession of burglar’s tools is also a fourth degree burglary. Generally this version of fourth degree burglary is used when someone is suspected of 1st or 2nd degree burglary or attempted burglary, but there may not be enough evidence to convict on that charge. Sometimes people with ordinary tools can get charged with this. The police may consider an ordinary screwdriver to be a burglar’s tool, if they think that the person is breaking the law in some other way, but cannot prove it.
Presumptions in Burglary Cases
Burglary cases are sometimes charged based upon only the presumption that the person in possession of recently stolen goods is the person who stole the goods. This is often an unjustified assumption, that can result in innocent buyers being charged with burglary offenses. It is also an assumption that I can overcome, which can lead to your charges getting dropped, or otherwise favorably resolved.
There are a lot of ways that I can defend you against burglary charges, keep you out of jail, and maintain your reputation, but only if you seek my assistance. Maryland burglary charges can have serious consequences even before your trial date, and can result in a period of imprisonment if you are found guilty. A good lawyer can greatly improve your odds. Call me at (301) 556‑8709 today so that we can get to work on your case.