Hollywood movies and television shows can portray crimes in an exciting, albeit misleading, way. For example, they may show a burglary to be a crime where doors are violently kicked down or blown up with something precious and valuable being stolen inside. However, in Alabama and elsewhere the crime of burglary need not be so dramatic.
What is first-degree burglary in Alabama?
In Alabama, a person commits first-degree burglary if they knowingly and illegally enter a dwelling, intending to commit a crime therein and while entering or remaining in the dwelling are armed with explosives, cause someone to suffer physical injuries, are armed with a deadly weapon or threaten to use a deadly weapon. First-degree burglary is a Class A felony. This type of burglary may be somewhat common to what we see in the movies or on TV. Note, however, that theft need not be the intended crime. Any intended crime suffices for the purpose of committing first-degree burglary.
What is second-degree burglary in Alabama?
In Alabama, a person commits second-degree burglary if they knowingly enter a building intending to commit theft or a felony therein and are either armed with explosives, cause someone to suffer physical injuries or use a deadly weapon to enter the building. Alternatively, a person also commits second-degree burglary under Alabama law if they simply unlawfully enter a dwelling-house intending to commit a theft crime or felony therein. Note that in this second application the entering need not be a violent event. Second-degree burglary is a Class B felony.
Learn more about theft crimes in Alabama
As this shows, burglary need not be the smash-and-grab scenarios we see in the media. They can involve any crime or felony and need not always be a violent crime. Still, since burglary is a felony crime it carries serious penalties including jail time and substantial fines. If you are accused of burglary you will want to make sure you understand the charges you face in order to effectuate a strong criminal defense strategy.