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Middlesex County Unarmed Burglary Lawyer

A conviction for burglary may have disastrous consequences, including the possibility of life in prison.

Elements of Unarmed Burglary

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

  1. Broke into and entered a dwelling house;
  2. During the nighttime; and
  3. Intended to commit a felony while inside.

A Dwelling House is any location where people live. Apartments, duplexes, single-family homes, dormitories, hotels, and tenement buildings all constitute dwelling houses.

A felony is any crime that is punishable by a state prison sentence. Examples of felonies are rape, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, robbery, and larceny over $1,200.

Elements of Aggravated Armed Burglary

There are enhanced penalties for defendants who are convicted of committing a burglary while armed with a dangerous weapon. For example:

  • A defendant is subject to 10 years in state prison if, at the time of the burglary, there is another person who is lawfully inside the home and the defendant:
    • Is armed with a dangerous weapon; or
    • Arms himself with a dangerous weapon while inside the home; or
    • Actually assaults the person who is lawfully inside the home.
  • A defendant is subject to 15 years in state prison if, at the time of the burglary, he is armed with a shotgun, rifle, firearm, assault weapon, or machine gun.

Common Defense Strategies

Burglary cases can be defended in a variety of ways.

Identification

Because all unarmed burglary cases happen at night, the Commonwealth’s witnesses will sometimes have problems identifying the defendant.  Attorney Spring will aggressively cross-examine all eyewitnesses to challenge the accuracy of their identification of the defendant.

Defendant’s Intent

The assistant district attorney is required to prove it was the defendant’s intent to commit a felony during the break-in.  Proving intent is always a challenge for the prosecutor, and it is often challenged by the defendant in unarmed burglary cases.

There are enhancement statutes that provide for much more serious penalties if defendants have been previously convicted of serious crimes. For example, the Massachusetts habitual offender statute mandates that if a defendant has been previously convicted at least twice of crimes and served at least three years in state prison, he automatically receives the maximum penalty of the current crime, which is life in prison for burglary. By indicting defendants for being habitual criminals, the District Attorney’s Office has an enormous amount of leverage and will often offer to dismiss the habitual criminal indictment in exchange for the defendant pleading guilty and accepting a long sentence on the burglary charge.

We Have The Experience

When Attorney Spring was an assistant district attorney early in his career, he prosecuted defendants for burglary and indicted defendants for being habitual criminals. Since becoming a Middlesex County criminal defense attorney, he has successfully defended clients charged with those same laws. Given the serious consequences that result from a burglary conviction, it is essential that you have an attorney who is experienced in trying these types of cases.  Attorney Spring has spent his entire career trying criminal cases, ranging from kidnapping to assault & battery, and he is prepared to help you.