SC Law Blog

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Repeat Offender: Burglary

As this WMBF news article shows, repeat offenders of even non-violent burglaries can face significant jail time:

At common law, burglary is defined as the breaking and entering of the dwelling of another at nighttime with the intent to commit a felony therein. However, many states have modified the common law definition so that the breaking and entering includes businesses as well as dwellings and most states have eliminated the nighttime requirement. South Carolina in particular does not require that the crime of burglary be committed in the nighttime.

Burglary is a specific intent crime, which means you must have intended to commit a crime upon the breaking and entering of the premises. Therefore, the burden will be on the prosecution to prove you possessed the requisite mental state when you committed the crime. Specific intent crimes carry additional defenses that general intent crimes do not and one of particular importance is voluntary intoxication. Voluntary intoxication is a defense because your intoxicated state may have affected your decision and thus, it may negate the element of crime for the crime of burglary. Another defense specific to this crime involves consent, if the defense can show you had consent to enter a dwelling or business, then that can negate the element of a breaking. Other potential defenses include insanity, and entrapment.

In order to be convicted of the crime of burglary, the prosecution must prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.  If your defense attorney can raise the slightest bit of doubt, then the jury is likely to acquit. Daniel Selwa is an experienced criminal defense attorney who can raise your best defense to avoid imprisonment. Contact Daniel Selwa today to set up a consultation regarding your case.

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