Serious Burglary Defense Attorneys in South Carolina
At the David W. Martin Law Group, our criminal defense attorneys in Rock Hill know that South Carolina burglary charges can be confusing, because multiple elements determine the degree of the charges and their penalties.
By definition, a person commits burglary by unauthorized entry into a building or dwelling with the intent to commit a crime therein. When it can be proven, and the individual is convicted of burglary, he or she can face serious felony penalties, including lengthy terms of incarceration and substantial fines.
If you have been charged with burglary in South Carolina, contact our skilled criminal defense attorneys to learn more about your legal rights and options to fight these charges from the start, so you can move forward with confidence.
What are the Different Types of Burglary Charges in South Carolina?
Burglary charges and their penalties vary according to the type of building that the defendant entered and other circumstances related to their unlawful entry.
From the order of least serious to the most serious, burglary can be charged in multiple degrees, including:
- Burglary in the Third Degree, for a First or Second Offense
Burglary in the third degree is burglary of a building without any aggravating circumstances.
These charges may stem from entering a building without consent, with the intention of committing a crime once inside. While burglary in the third degree is the least serious of the burglary offenses, it is still a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison for the first conviction and up to ten years in prison for a second offense.
- Burglary in the Second Degree, Non-Violent Offense
Non-violent burglary in the second degree is the same as burglary in the third degree, but the person enters a home/dwelling rather than just a building with no aggravated — meaning violent or threatening — circumstances. These charges are felonies, punishable by up to ten years in prison.
- Burglary in the Second Degree, Violent Offense
Violent burglary in the second degree is when a person enters a building — not a home/dwelling — without consent, with the intent to commit a crime, and either the individual or someone accompanying him or her is armed with a deadly weapon, threatens to use a weapon, displays what appears to be a gun or knife, harms a person, or breaks in at night.
Violent burglary in the second degree also applies to an individual who has two or more convictions for breaking into homes.
The aggravating circumstance makes this charge a felony punishable by up to fifteen years with a requirement to serve one-third of the sentence.
- Burglary in the First Degree
Burglary in the first degree is the same as violent burglary in the second degree, but the building entered is a home/dwelling. Burglary in the first degree is the most serious burglary offense and carries a minimum prison sentence of fifteen years but can carry a sentence of life in prison.
It is one of the few offenses in South Carolina that can carry a life sentence that does not involve death in the commission of the crime.
Have You Been Charged with Burglary in South Carolina?
If you have been arrested for burglary in South Carolina, the serious felony charges can remain on your criminal record going forward if you are convicted. Do not attempt to face these charges alone. Contact our experienced York County, South Carolina criminal defense attorneys by calling (803) 548-2468 or contact us online today to learn how we can help with your case, so you can put these charges behind you.