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Burglary Charges in South Carolina

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In South Carolina, burglary charges are serious offenses that can have significant legal consequences. If you or a loved one is facing burglary charges, it's crucial to seek legal representation from a skilled criminal defense attorney who understands the complexities of South Carolina law. At Touma Law Group, our team will work tirelessly to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

With our extensive experience and dedication to our clients, our Columbia defense lawyers will provide you with aggressive representation and strategic defense strategies tailored to your unique situation. Don't face your charges alone – contact Touma Law Group today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards safeguarding your future. Call our office at (803) 879-4499.

Before we can get into the degrees of burglary and how the law is applied, it is important to define what exactly burglary is. 

According to South Carolina state law, the legal definition of burglary is when someone enters a dwelling without consent with the intent to commit a crime. The law further divides convictions for burglary into three types: 1st Degree Burglary, 2nd Degree Burglary, and 3rd Degree Burglary. 

Degrees of Burglary

In South Carolina, there are a couple of different burglary degrees. These vary depending on the degree of the crime, the exact context in which it occurred, and whether or not a deadly weapon was involved. The punishment for burglary will also vary depending on the degree of the crime. 

First-Degree Burglary

First-degree burglary charges are the most severe charges that you can get for a burglary crime. According to state law, you can receive these charges when you enter a building without consent with the intent of committing a crime.

However, the specifics of the crime are what sets it apart from other burglary charges. You have to enter the dwelling with the intent to commit violent crimes and have a dangerous weapon on your person at the time. This degree is also applicable if someone is severely injured or killed during your entry into the home.

Learn More: Questions to Ask a Columbia Defense Attorney

If convicted of a burglary 1st-degree charge, you can face life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison. 

In these cases, it is especially important to work with experienced criminal defense attorneys. With their thorough understanding of burglary laws, they will be able to argue against you being charged with a felony offense. 

Second-Degree Burglary

A burglary 2nd-degree charge is very similar to first-degree burglary charges but is lower in severity. It has the same requirements of entering with the intent to commit a crime, especially a violent crime. However, the overall severity is lower, and whether or not the actions make it a 1st degree or second-degree burglary will be determined by the court.

This is why it is so important to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to make sure that you get the best possible outcome in your case.

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This burglary offense is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, less than a first-degree charge, and more than a third-degree charge.

Third-Degree Burglary

Third-degree burglary is the lowest level of burglary charge that you can receive in the state of South Carolina. It typically involves unlawful entry into a residential dwelling with the intent to commit a crime.

The main difference here is that the criminal offense in question does not have to be a violent offense and typically does not involve a deadly weapon. 

As for prison sentences, a first-time burglary charge will get you up to five years and a second-time charge will get you a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. 

Elements of Burglary Charges

When you read the description of the different charges for the crime of burglary, you will notice that several different aspects are considered. The severity of each of these aspects in the individual case will impact your final charges. 

One of the most important aspects of a burglary case is the trespassing aspect of it. Even if the door to a dwelling is open, but you enter the building without permission, it will still be considered trespassing and, in this context, burglary under the law.

Intent to Commit a Crime Inside the Dwelling/Building

The second aspect that must be a part of the crime for it to be considered burglary is the intent to commit a crime inside the dwelling or building. The crime itself can range from theft or personal property damage 

Physical Injury Resulting From the Burglary

This third category is not an aspect of a burglary 3rd-degree charge but is very important when it comes to a first-degree burglary offense or 2nd-degree burglary charges. 

Related: How Much Does an SC Defense Lawyer Cost?

If physical injury results from the armed robbery, this can easily meet the higher degree burglary conditions and increase the length of your sentence. 

Penalties for a Burglary Conviction

The penalties for each degree of burglary conviction vary in accordance with the severity of the crime. 

  • 1st Degree: A first-degree burglary offense is punishable by a minimum sentence of 15 years all the way up to a life sentence. 
  • 2nd Degree: A second-degree burglary is punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
  • 3rd Degree: While the other two degrees have harsher sentences, a 3rd-degree burglary charge can still have major consequences for you and your criminal record. On a first offense, you can face prison time of up to five years. For the second offense, that maximum time goes up to ten years.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Fight Burglary Charges?

With the consequences for burglary charges being so high, it is highly recommended to work with a burglary lawyer. Not doing so can lead to harsher sentences and a more drawn-out case.

Here at Touma Law Group we regularly work with burglary cases and understand all of the steps that you need to go through. Our Columbia theft charge lawyers know how to work with South Carolina law and make sure that you get the best possible outcome for your case.

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