The entertainment industry makes burglary seem borderline romantic. They depict burglars as educated, skilled professionals with impressive technical skills and lock-picking kits. One effect of heist movies featuring unrealistic burglary situations is that many people don’t understand what burglary actually involves.
Yes, someone who forces their way into a home by picking the locks or breaking a window will face burglary charges. The same is true of those who drive a vehicle through the front of a store to make off with merchandise or cash registers.
However, burglars don’t always break into or damage a building to gain access to what is inside of it. People who do something much less dramatic and dangerous could also find themselves facing burglary charges.
Burglars often plan well in advance
A burglar doesn’t usually steal on impulse. They plan ahead, and sometimes that planning involves sidestepping security measures so that they don’t have to force entry into a building.
They might attend a home viewing for a listed piece of real estate and then hide in the closet until after everyone leaves. Alternately, they might go into a business or store and find someplace where no one will notice them where they can hide until everything closes down for the night.
Burglars sometimes get caught staying overnight in stores. They might even undertake massive projects, such as tunneling through a wall to access narcotic painkillers after staff members leave for the night. When a business closes down for the evening or someone secures their personal property, individuals who stay on the premises without authorization or permission are there illegally, even if they did not force their way onto the property. If they get caught, they can face burglary charges.
What looks like burglary might be a mistake
Maybe you fell asleep in the stall of a changing room because you have narcolepsy. Perhaps you slipped on your way to the bathroom and lost consciousness in an area of the business where people don’t frequently visit.
Sometimes, people who seem like they have criminal intentions are victims of circumstance. Those charged with burglary because they were unlawfully in a space may have a compelling explanation for how they wound up in that situation. Understanding why you face criminal charges can help determine the best way to defend yourself against them.