Burglary
Overview
Burglary is a crime
Crime
Crime is the breach of rules or laws for which some governing authority can ultimately prescribe a conviction...

, the essence of which is illicit entry into a building for the purposes of committing an offense. Usually that offense will be theft
Theft
In common usage, theft is the illegal taking of another person's property without that person's permission or consent. The word is also used as an informal shorthand term for some crimes against property, such as burglary, embezzlement, larceny, looting, robbery, shoplifting and fraud...

, but most jurisdictions specify others which fall within the ambit of burglary. To engage in the act of burglary is to burgle (in British English
British English
British English, or English , is the broad term used to distinguish the forms of the English language used in the United Kingdom from forms used elsewhere...

) or to burglarize (in American English
American English
American English is a set of dialects of the English language used mostly in the United States. Approximately two-thirds of the world's native speakers of English live in the United States....

).
The common law
Common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...

 burglary was defined by Sir Matthew Hale
Matthew Hale (jurist)
Sir Matthew Hale SL was an influential English barrister, judge and jurist most noted for his treatise Historia Placitorum Coronæ, or The History of the Pleas of the Crown. Born to a barrister and his wife, who had both died by the time he was 5, Hale was raised by his father's relative, a strict...

 as
  1. Breaking can be either actual, such as by forcing open a door, or constructive, such as by fraud or threats.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
Burglary is a crime
Crime
Crime is the breach of rules or laws for which some governing authority can ultimately prescribe a conviction...

, the essence of which is illicit entry into a building for the purposes of committing an offense. Usually that offense will be theft
Theft
In common usage, theft is the illegal taking of another person's property without that person's permission or consent. The word is also used as an informal shorthand term for some crimes against property, such as burglary, embezzlement, larceny, looting, robbery, shoplifting and fraud...

, but most jurisdictions specify others which fall within the ambit of burglary. To engage in the act of burglary is to burgle (in British English
British English
British English, or English , is the broad term used to distinguish the forms of the English language used in the United Kingdom from forms used elsewhere...

) or to burglarize (in American English
American English
American English is a set of dialects of the English language used mostly in the United States. Approximately two-thirds of the world's native speakers of English live in the United States....

).

Common law definition

The common law
Common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...

 burglary was defined by Sir Matthew Hale
Matthew Hale (jurist)
Sir Matthew Hale SL was an influential English barrister, judge and jurist most noted for his treatise Historia Placitorum Coronæ, or The History of the Pleas of the Crown. Born to a barrister and his wife, who had both died by the time he was 5, Hale was raised by his father's relative, a strict...

 as
  1. Breaking can be either actual, such as by forcing open a door, or constructive, such as by fraud or threats. Breaking does not require that anything be "broken" in terms of physical damage occurring. A person who has permission to enter part of a house, but not another part, commits a breaking and entering when they use any means to enter a room where they are not permitted, so long as the room was not open to enter.
  2. Entering can involve either physical entry by a person or the insertion of an instrument with which to remove property. Insertion of a tool to gain entry may not constitute entering by itself. Note that there must be a breaking and an entering for common law burglary. Breaking without entry or entry without breaking is not sufficient for common law burglary.
  3. Although rarely listed as an element, the common law required that entry occur as a consequence of the breaking. For example, if a wrongdoer partially opened a window by using a pry bar and then noticed an open door through which he entered the dwelling, there is no burglary at common law. The use of the pry bar would not constitute an entry even if a portion of the prybar "entered" the residence. Under the instrumentality rule the use of an instrument to effect a breaking would not constitute an entry. However, if any part of the perpetrator's body entered the residence in an attempt to gain entry, the instrumentality rule did not apply. Thus, if the perpetrator uses the prybar to pry open the window and then used his hands to lift the partially opened window, an "entry" would have taken place when he grasped the bottom of the window with his hands.
  4. House includes a temporarily unoccupied dwelling, but not a building used only occasionally as a habitation
  5. Night time is defined as hours between half an hour after sunset and half an hour before sunrise
  6. Typically this element is expressed as the intent to commit a felony “therein”. The use of the word “therein” adds nothing and certainly does not limit the scope of burglary to those wrongdoers who break and enter a dwelling intending to commit a felony on the premises. The situs of the felony does not matter, and burglary occurs if the wrongdoer intended to commit a felony at the time he broke and entered.


The common law elements of burglary often vary between jurisdictions. The common law definition has been expanded in most jurisdictions, such that the building need not be a dwelling or even a building in the conventional sense, physical breaking is not necessary, the entry does not need to occur at night, and the intent may be to commit any felony or theft.

The etymology
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

 originates from Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxon may refer to:* Anglo-Saxons, a group that invaded Britain** Old English, their language** Anglo-Saxon England, their history, one of various ships* White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, an ethnicity* Anglo-Saxon economy, modern macroeconomic term...

 or Old English, one of the Germanic languages
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

. According to one textbook, "The word burglar comes from the two German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 words berg, meaning "house," and laron, meaning "thief" (literally "house thief"). Another suggested etymology is from the later Latin word burgare, "to break open" or "to commit burglary", from burgus, meaning "fortress" or "castle", with the word then passing through French and Middle English, with influence from the Latin latro, "thief". The British verb "burgle" is a late back-formation.

United States

Burglary is prosecuted as a felony
Felony
A felony is a serious crime in the common law countries. The term originates from English common law where felonies were originally crimes which involved the confiscation of a convicted person's land and goods; other crimes were called misdemeanors...

 or misdemeanor
Misdemeanor
A misdemeanor is a "lesser" criminal act in many common law legal systems. Misdemeanors are generally punished much less severely than felonies, but theoretically more so than administrative infractions and regulatory offences...

 and involves trespassing and theft, entering a building or automobile, or remaining unlawfully with intent to commit theft or any crime, not necessarily a theft for example, vandalism
Vandalism
Vandalism is the behaviour attributed originally to the Vandals, by the Romans, in respect of culture: ruthless destruction or spoiling of anything beautiful or venerable...

. Even if nothing is stolen in a burglary, the act is a statutory offense. Buildings can include sheds, barns, and coops; burglary of boats, aircraft, and railway cars is possible. Burglary may be an element in crimes involving rape
Rape
Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent. The...

, arson
Arson
Arson is the crime of intentionally or maliciously setting fire to structures or wildland areas. It may be distinguished from other causes such as spontaneous combustion and natural wildfires...

, kidnapping
Kidnapping
In criminal law, kidnapping is the taking away or transportation of a person against that person's will, usually to hold the person in false imprisonment, a confinement without legal authority...

, identity theft
Identity theft
Identity theft is a form of stealing another person's identity in which someone pretends to be someone else by assuming that person's identity, typically in order to access resources or obtain credit and other benefits in that person's name...

, or violation of civil rights; indeed the "plumbers" of the Watergate scandal
Watergate scandal
The Watergate scandal was a political scandal during the 1970s in the United States resulting from the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., and the Nixon administration's attempted cover-up of its involvement...

 were technically burglars. As with all legal definitions in the U.S., the foregoing description may not be applicable in every jurisdiction, since there are 50 separate state criminal codes, plus Federal and territorial codes in force.

Nighttime burglaries

Technically, a burglary committed during the hours of daylight is not burglary, but housebreaking.
In many jurisdictions in the U.S., burglary is punished more severely than housebreaking. In California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, for example, burglary was punished as burglary in the first degree, while housebreaking was punished as burglary in the second degree. California now distinguishes between entry into a residence and into a commercial building, with the burglary into a residence with heavier punishment.

In states that continue to punish burglary more severely than housebreaking twilight
Twilight
Twilight is the time between dawn and sunrise or between sunset and dusk, during which sunlight scattering in the upper atmosphere illuminates the lower atmosphere, and the surface of the earth is neither completely lit nor completely dark. The sun itself is not directly visible because it is below...

, night is traditionally defined as hours between 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise.

Inchoate crime

Some academics consider burglary as an inchoate crime. Others say that because the intrusion itself is harmful, this justifies punishment even when no further crime is committed.
Possession of burglar's tools, in jurisdictions that make this an offense, has also been viewed as an inchoate crime:

Florida

Under Florida State Statutes
Florida law
The Florida law is based on the Florida Constitution , which defines how the statutes must be passed into law, and defines the limits of authority and basic law that the Florida Statutes must be complied with...

, "burglary" occurs when a person "enter[s] a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein, unless the premises are at the time open to the public or the defendant is licensed or invited to enter. Depending on the circumstances of the crime, burglary can be classified as third-, second-, or first-degree felonies, with maximum sentences of five years, fifteen years, and life, respectively.

Georgia

A person commits the offense of burglary when, without authority and with the intent to commit a felony or theft therein, he enters or remains within the dwelling house of another or any building, vehicle, railroad car, watercraft, or other such structure designed for use as the dwelling of another or enters or remains within any other building, railroad car, aircraft, or any room or any part thereof. A person convicted of the offense of burglary, for the first such offense, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than 20 years. For the purposes of this Code section, the term "railroad car" shall also include trailers on flatcars, containers on flatcars, trailers on railroad property, or containers on railroad property. O.C.G.A. § 16-7-1

Kentucky

Burglary and the intended crime, if carried out, are treated as separate offenses. Burglary is a felony, even when the intended crime is a misdemeanor, and the intent to commit the crime can occur when one "enters or remains unlawfully" in the building, expanding the common law definition. It has three degrees. Third-degree burglary is the broadest, and applies to any building or other premises. Second-degree burglary retains the common-law element of a dwelling, and first-degree burglary requires one to be in a dwelling and to be armed with a weapon or to cause injury. A related offense, criminal trespass, covers unlawful entry to buildings or premises without the intent to commit a crime, and is a misdemeanor or, in the third degree, a violation. Possession of burglar's tools, with the intent to use them to commit burglary or theft, is a misdemeanor.

Massachusetts

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

 uses the term "burglary" to refer to a night-time breaking and entering of a dwelling with the intent to commit a felony. Burglary is a felony punishable by not more than twenty years; should the burglar enter with a dangerous weapon, they may be imprisoned for life. Unlawful entries of a structure other than a dwelling are labeled "breaking and entering" and punishments vary according to structure.

Maryland

In Maryland, under title 6, subtitle 2 of the criminal law code, the crime of burglary is divided into four degrees. The first three degrees are felonies, while fourth-degree burglary is a misdemeanor. Breaking and entering into a dwelling with intent to commit theft or a crime of violence is first-degree burglary. Breaking and entering into a "storehouse" (a structure other than a dwelling, also including watercraft, aircraft, railroad cars, and vessels) with intent to commit theft, arson, or a crime of violence is second-degree burglary. Third-degree burglary is defined as breaking and entering into a dwelling with intent to commit a crime.

Simple breaking and entering into a dwelling or storehouse without specific intent to commit an additional crime is fourth-degree burglary. This degree also includes two other offenses that do not have breaking and entering as an element: Being in or on the yard, garden, or other property of a storehouse or dwelling with the intent to commit theft, or possession of burglar's tools with the intent to use them in a burglary offense.

New Hampshire

In the criminal code of New Hampshire
New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian...

, "A person is guilty of burglary if he enters a building or occupied structure, or separately secured or occupied section thereof, with purpose to commit a crime therein, unless the premises are at the time open to the public or the actor is licensed or privileged to enter."

New York

Under the penal law
Penal law
In the most general sense, penal is the body of laws that are enforced by the State in its own name and impose penalties for their violation, as opposed to civil law that seeks to redress private wrongs...

 in New York, burglary is always a felony, even in third degree. It is more serious if the perpetrator uses what appears to be a dangerous weapon, or if he or she enters a dwelling.

Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, it is a defense to prosecution if the building or structure in question is rendered abandoned

Virginia

In Virginia, there are degrees of burglary, described as "Common Law Burglary" and "Statutory Burglary."

Common Law Burglary is defined as: if any person breaks and enters the dwelling of another, in the nighttime, with intent to commit a felony or any larceny (Theft < 200$) therein, shall be guilty of burglary, punishable as a class 3 felony; provided, however, that if such person was armed with a deadly weapon at the time of such entry, he shall be guilty of a class 2 felony.

Statutory Burglary is defined as: If any person in the nighttime enters without breaking, or in the daytime breaks and enters or enters and conceals himself in a dwelling house or an adjoining, occupied outhouse, or, in the nighttime enters without breaking or at any time breaks and enters or enters and conceals himself in any office, shop, manufactured home, storehouse, warehouse, banking house, church or other house, or any ship, vessel or river craft, or any railroad car, or any automobile, truck, or trailer, if such automobile, truck or trailer is used as a dwelling or place of human habitation, with intent to commit murder, rape, robbery or arson in violation of Virginia State code section 18.2-77, 18.2-79, or 18.2-80, shall be deemed guilty of statutory burglary, which offense shall be a class 3 felony. However, if such person was armed with a deadly weapon at the time of such entry, he shall be guilty of a class 2 felony.

Additionally, if any person commits any of the acts mentioned in the VA state code section 18.2-90 with intent to commit larceny, or any felony other than murder, rape, robbery or arson in violation of VA state code section 18.2-77, 18.2-79, or 18.2-80, or if any person commits any acts mentioned in 18.2-89 or 18.2-90 with intent to commit assault and battery, shall be guilty of statutory burglary, punishable by confinement in a state correctional facility for not less than one or more than twenty years, or, in the discretion of the jury or the court trying the case without a jury, be confined in jail for a period not exceeding twelve months or fined not more than $2,500, either or both. However, if the person was armed with a deadly weapon at the time of such entry, he shall be guilty of a Class 2 felony.

Finally, if any person break and enter a dwelling house while said dwelling is occupied, either in the day or nighttime, with intent to commit any misdemeanor except assault and battery or trespass (which falls under the previous paragraph), shall be guilty of a class 6 felony. However, if the person was armed with a deadly weapon at the time of such entry, he shall be guilty of a class 2 felony.

Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, burglary is committed by one who enters a building without consent and with intent to steal or to commit another felony. Burglary may also be committed by entry to a locked truck or trailer or a ship. The crime of burglary is treated as being more serious if the burglar is armed with a dangerous weapon when the burglary is committed or arms himself/herself during the commission of the burglary.

England and Wales

Burglary is defined by section 9 of the Theft Act 1968
Theft Act 1968
The Theft Act 1968 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It creates a number of offences against property in England and Wales.On 15 January 2007 the Fraud Act 2006 came into force, redefining most of the offences of deception.-History:...

 which created two variants:

Northern Ireland

The offence is defined in similar terms to England and Wales by the
Theft Act (Northern Ireland) 1969.

Scotland

Under Scots law
Scots law
Scots law is the legal system of Scotland. It is considered a hybrid or mixed legal system as it traces its roots to a number of different historical sources. With English law and Northern Irish law it forms the legal system of the United Kingdom; it shares with the two other systems some...

, the crime of burglary does not exist. Instead theft by housebreaking covers theft where the security of the building is overcome. It does not include any other aspect of burglary found in England and Wales. It is a crime usually prosecuted under solemn procedure
Indictment
An indictment , in the common-law legal system, is a formal accusation that a person has committed a crime. In jurisdictions that maintain the concept of felonies, the serious criminal offence is a felony; jurisdictions that lack the concept of felonies often use that of an indictable offence—an...

 in a superiour court. Another common law crime still used is Hamesukin which covers forced entry into a building where a serious assault on the occupant takes place. Common law
Common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...

 crimes in Scotland are gradually being replaced by statutes.

Canada

In Canada, burglary is labelled as "Breaking and Entering" under section 348 of the Criminal Code
Criminal Code
A criminal code is a document which compiles all, or a significant amount of, a particular jurisdiction's criminal law...

 and is a hybrid offence
Hybrid offence
A hybrid offence, dual offence, Crown option offence, dual procedure offence, or wobbler are the special class offences in the common law jurisdictions where the case may be prosecuted either summarily or as indictment...

. Breaking and entering is defined as trespassing with intent to commit an indictable offence
Indictable offence
In many common law jurisdictions , an indictable offence is an offence which can only be tried on an indictment after a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is a prima facie case to answer or by a grand jury...

. The crime is commonly referred to in Canada as "break and enter" which in turn is often shortened to "B and E".

Sweden

In Sweden, burglary does not exist as an offence in itself, instead there are two available offences. If a person simply breaks into any premise, he is technically guilty of either unlawful intrusion or breach of domiciliary peace (olaga intrång and hemfridsbrott), depending on the premise in question. Breach of domiciliary peace is only applicable when a person "unlawfully intrudes or remains where another has his living quarters".
The only punishment available for any of these offences is fines, unless the offence is considered gross. In that case, the maximum punishment is two years in prison.

However, if the person who has forced himself into a house, steals anything
(literally "takes what belongs to another with intent to acquire it"), he is guilty of (ordinary) theft (stöld). However, the section regarding gross theft (Chapter 6, 4s of the Penal Code, grov stöld) states "in assessing whether the crime is gross, special consideration shall be given to whether the unlawful appropriation took place after intrusion into a dwelling." For theft, the punishment is imprisonment of at most two years, while gross theft carries a punishment of between six months and six years.

Finland

As in Sweden, there is no crime of burglary as such in Finland. In the case of breaking and entering, the Finnish penal code states that
A person who unlawfully

(1) enters domestic premises by force, stealth or deception, or hides or stays in
such premises [...]
shall be sentenced for invasion of domestic premises to a fine or to imprisonment for at most six months.


However, if theft is committed during unlawful entering, then a person is guilty of theft or aggravated theft depending on the circumstances of the felony.
Aggravated theft:
(1) If in the theft the offender breaks into an occupied residence,
and the theft is aggravated also when assessed as a whole, the offender shall be
sentenced for aggravated theft to imprisonment for at least four months and at most
four years.

See also

  • R v Collins
    R v Collins
    R v Collins 1973 QB 100 is a case decided by the Court of Appeal of England and Wales which examined the meaning of "enters as a trespasser" in the definition of burglary...

  • Trespass
    Trespass
    Trespass is an area of tort law broadly divided into three groups: trespass to the person, trespass to chattels and trespass to land.Trespass to the person, historically involved six separate trespasses: threats, assault, battery, wounding, mayhem, and maiming...

  • Home Invasion
    Home Invasion
    Home Invasion is the fifth solo album by Ice-T. Released in 1993, the album Home Invasion is the fifth solo album by Ice-T. Released in 1993, the album Home Invasion is the fifth solo album by Ice-T. Released in 1993, the album (which was originally set to be released in 1992 under the deal with...

  • Watergate burglaries
  • "Cat burglar" at Wiktionary
    Wiktionary
    Wiktionary is a multilingual, web-based project to create a free content dictionary, available in 158 languages...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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