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Greater Lowell Bar Association

Aggravated Armed Burglary

A conviction for aggravated armed burglary has potentially catastrophic consequences, including the possibility of a life prison sentence.

Elements of Aggravated Armed Burglary

In order to convict a defendant of aggravated armed burglary, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. The defendant broke into and entered a dwelling house;
  2. In the nighttime;
  3. With the intent to commit a felony in the dwelling house; and
  4. At the time of the breaking and entering, a person was lawfully at home in the dwelling and the defendant either (1) was armed with a dangerous weapon at the time of the breaking and entering; or (2) armed himself or herself with a dangerous weapon while in the dwelling, or (3) committed an actual assault on the person in the home.

A Dwelling House is any place that people live. Dwelling houses include single family homes, duplexes, apartments, tenement buildings, hotels, boarding houses, dormitories, or any other buildings where people are domiciled.

Common Defense Strategies

Aggravated armed burglary are usually defended in the following ways.

  • Identification - Because aggravated armed burglary necessarily involves conduct that occurs at night, identification is often a live issue at trial. How was the defendant able to be identified when it was dark outside? Attorney Spring aggressively cross-examines all eyewitnesses in these types of cases.  There is research that proves eyewitness identification testimony is some of the most unreliable evidence that exists.  Oftentimes, witnesses will honestly but incorrectly identify a defendant who was not a participant in a crime.  These erroneous identifications happen for many reasons - it's harder to make an identification after a traumatic event (such as being the victim of a violent crime); it's harder to identify someone of a different race; and it's harder to identify someone with the passage of time.  All of these issues will be addressed during the examination of the eyewitnesses.

  • Defendant’s Intent - The Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intended to commit a felony after breaking into the dwelling house. Unless there is a history between the defendant and the homeowner, this is often an element that can be aggressively attacked at trial – how can the jury possibly know what the defendant was intending to do once he or she got inside the dwelling house?  Intent is a notoriously difficult element for the Commonwealth to prove in these types of cases.

A conviction for aggravated armed burglary is going to significantly disrupt your life.  You should give yourself the best chance for a positive outcome by hiring an experienced, aggressive criminal defense attorney to defend you.  Attorney Spring has both prosecuted and defended cases in superior court during his career.  He has conducted complex criminal investigations as a prosecutor and a defense attorney.  He is experienced in issues involving the grand jury.  He is comfortable trying cases in front of superior court judges and juries.  Attorney Spring is in a position to help you with your case, and you should call him today for a free consultation. 

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