Burglary is a common crime that can bring about heavy consequences, including up to 40 years in prison for each count alone. If you are facing burglary charges, having an experienced Indiana burglary defense attorney is critical to defending your rights, freedom, and future.
An experienced criminal defense attorney should explain the charges you face, the potential sentence, and how to develop and implement the right defense strategy for your case. Contact a knowledgeable Indiana burglary defense lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights from the start.
An Indiana Burglary Defense Attorney Explains the Basics
Burglary charges may be classified as lower-level felonies, but in some cases they can escalate to Level 1 and 2 felonies. Under Indiana Code § 35-43-2-1, burglary as a Level 5 felony is defined as breaking into and entering another’s home or building with the intention of committing theft or other felony acts. Additional facts, such as being armed or the nature of the dwelling, can be elevated to a higher felony level.
Residential burglary charges can be filed when the state believes the named defendant purposefully broke into another person’s residence. Under Indiana Code § 35-31.5-2-107, a residence or dwelling is defined as a place or structure where someone lives, such as any of the following:
- A family home;
- An apartment;
- Any enclosure or structure used as a residence; or
- A houseboat or recreational vehicle (RV).
At its lowest level, burglary is a Level 5 felony in Indiana, but the charge can become more serious when certain circumstances are involved. These situations include the following:
- Burglary of a residence is a Level 4 felony;
- Burglary that results in injury to an individual may be charged as a Level 3 felony;
- Burglary involving the use of a deadly weapon is a Level 2 felony; and
- Burglary involving entry by the accused of a dwelling and that causes serious bodily harm to someone can be charged with a Level 1 felony.
Regardless of the level of burglary charges an accused faces, the potential Indiana burglary sentence can be several years in prison. A skilled Indiana burglary defense attorney works diligently to identify facts and evidence to support the lowest possible or dismissal of the charges altogether.
Get Help on Sentencing from an Indiana Burglary Defense Attorney
Should you be found guilty of burglary, you still can fight for a lighter sentence during the sentencing phase of your case. The following are possible sentences with their associated level of burglary:
- Level 1 felonies may result in a 20- to 40-year prison term.
- Level 2 felonies may carry ten to 30 years in prison.
- Level 3 felonies may result in a three- to 16-year prison term.
- Level 4 felonies can carry a two- to 12-year prison term.
A defendant determined to be a habitual offender as defined in Indiana Code § 35-50-2-8 may receive an additional six to 20 years on a Level 1 through 4 Indiana burglary sentence. When facing up to 60 years of jail, having an experienced Indiana burglary defense attorney represent you is critically important.
The Criminal Trial Process for Burglary Offenses in Indiana
From the time of your arrest, you have the right to an attorney. In fact, under the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution, you do not have to answer any questions from the police without an attorney present.
After your arrest, the court may allow you to post bail and be released from custody. Under Indiana Code § 35-33-8-4, the court may not set the bail higher than an amount reasonably required to assure the defendant appears in court. An experienced Indiana burglary defense lawyer is in the best position to argue for lower and fair bail.
The request for bail typically comes at an initial hearing, where the defendant enters a preliminary plea. Should the defendant post bail before the initial hearing, a hearing will be scheduled within 20 days of the arrest.
Once the preliminary hearings, discovery, and pre-trial motions are complete, the case heads to trial. If you request a jury trial, then that phase starts with jury selection. Once a jury is seated, the State presents its evidence, and the defendant presents a defense. At the conclusion of all evidence, the jury deliberates for however needed to reach a verdict. If the jury finds the defendant guilty, the next phase is sentencing, although the defendant has a right to an appeal.
An Experienced Indiana Burglary Defense Attorney Can Strategically Manage Your Defense
Prosecutors must file cases within a certain period from the date of the crime. For Level 3 through 6 burglary charges, the prosecution must file charges within five years of the date of the burglary. However, under Indiana Code § 35-41-4-2(c), Level 1 and 2 burglaries can be prosecuted at any time.
A defense customized to your case is essential to protecting your rights and freedom. If you’re facing burglary charges, contact an experienced Indiana burglary defense attorney at Camden & Meridew, P.C. To schedule a consultation with a defense attorney with the experience to protect your rights, call us at 317-770-0000 or complete our convenient online contact form.