Most states define burglary as some variation of entering a structure with the intent of committing theft or other felony once inside. Another term for burglary is known as breaking and entering and you can be charged with breaking and entering even if you did not forcibly enter the structure.
Your intent in the commission of the crime is a very important element in that you not only did you enter a building, you entered with the specific intent to commit a theft or felony once you gained access. In most states burglary is a “wobbler” charge which means it can be charged either as a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the specific circumstances surrounding your particular case as well as whether you have any prior criminal history.
In some states you can even be charged with a crime simply for possessing a tool which is considered a “burglary tool,” such as a slim jim, picklock or crowbar—if the prosecutor can also show you had the intent to commit burglary. Penalties for burglary can be very harsh therefore you need an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner as soon as you are charged in order to potentially get the charges reduced or even dismissed. It can be somewhat difficult to prove the crime of burglary therefore the prosecutor may be more likely to consider lesser charges or offer an appealing plea bargain.
Burglary can be charged as a first or second degree crime with first degree burglary being a felony. Second degree burglary can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances. First degree burglary could be charged during a residential crime, or a dwelling where people live or sleep. Even if the residence is not currently occupied, such as in the case of a vacation home and you burglarize it while nobody is in the home, it can still be considered inhabited, leading to more serious first degree burglary charges. Second degree burglary charges are more likely to be seen in a commercial burglary where no one routinely lives or sleeps.
Defenses to Burglary
The prosecutor must prove that you had the intent to commit a theft or felony upon your entry or the crime did not actually take place. Another facet of intent revolves around mistake of fact which means if you entered another’s home with the intention of taking back something you believed belonged to you or if you entered another’s home believing you had the owner’s express permission to take the time, then you would not be guilty of burglary. Finally, if you had the owner’s consent or you were actually the owner of the property, then your attorney might be able to prove you had no intent to commit the crime of burglary. If you are innocent of the crime of burglary as charged, then your attorney may argue that your charges were the result of mistaken identity in that you simply looked like someone else or had the same name as someone who was reported to the police.
Don’t wait, hoping the charges will go away if you have been charged with burglary. A conviction could follow you for the rest of your life, making it difficult to obtain employment, get a student loan or obtain a professional license. You want to minimize the damage to your future as much as possible and your criminal defense attorney can help you do that.
Grand theft auto or the taking of a vehicle which does not belong to you is a very serious crime and can be charged as a felony in some states. Laws regarding theft vary from state to state however petty thefts are usually charged as misdemeanors and punishable by as much as twelve months in jail while grand theft is generally a felony and can result in more than twelve months in prison. Grand theft is usually characterized by the dollar amount of the item stolen. A stolen item with a value greater than $500-$1,000 will usually be charged as grand theft–and most vehicles fall under this category.
To gain a conviction for grant theft auto the prosecutor must prove that the person took a vehicle which belonged to another person with the clear intent to deprive them of the vehicle permanently. The car doesn’t necessarily have to be broken into or hotwired; a car which is unlocked and has the keys in the ignition may seem like a clear invitation to drive it away, but the charges of grand theft auto remain the same. Boats, campers, motorcycles and trailers all fall under the category of grand theft auto in mo-st states with a few exceptions involving boats.
Enhanced penalties and punishments can occur should the person taking the car break into it, or break into the garage where the car is housed. In such a case the person could also be guilty of burglary. If the vehicle is taken from the owner using force or using a firearm, then charges of robbery, assault or carjacking could also be leveled. The punishments for these crimes are much more severe than the punishments for grand theft auto and are usually felony charges carrying as much as ten to fifteen years in prison. Aside from prison or jail time, restitution to the victim, fines, fees and probation are all possibilities with a conviction of grand theft auto.
What You Must Do if You’ve Been Charged With Grand Theft Auto
If you have been charged with grand theft auto, you must hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible in order to minimize the damage to your future. Your attorney will understand the potential defenses which can be used in your specific case. The two defenses most often used include intent and consent. If your attorney can prove that you did take the car however you had no intention of permanently depriving the owner of the car, then you could be acquitted of the crime of grand theft auto. If it can be proven that the owner of the car gave you permission to take it, then you also could be acquitted of the crime.
Remember, however that just because the owner allowed you to drive his or her car at another time, consent is not clearly established—your attorney must show that you had the owner’s express consent to take the vehicle on the occasion in question. There is a less serious charge known as taking without owner’s consent which can be used when a defendant takes a car that clearly belongs to another but that the defendant is sometimes allowed to drive and actually possesses a set of keys to the vehicle. When a child takes a parent’s car without permission but they have had permission in the past it could be charged as a TWOC.
Your criminal defense attorney will inform you of your legal rights, study the case thoroughly in order to build the best defense possible for you, and should you be found guilty, he or she will work with the prosecution to try and lessen the severity of your penalties.
Indecent assault is a form of touching which the person finds offensive and occurs on specific body parts. In other words, when one person touches another in an “indecent way” on the buttocks, breasts or genitals without their consent indecent assault has occurred. Even a kiss using the tongue without the other person’s consent can result in charges of indecent assault, although it would be more difficult to obtain a conviction if that were the only contact. The alleged victim must have been at least fourteen years of age at the time of the contact, the accused must have touched the alleged victim with no justification, the touching must be considered indecent, and the alleged victim must not have given consent.
The Difference in Indecent Assault and “Regular” Assault
The crime of indecent assault and battery is considerably different from “regular” assault and battery in specific ways. Typically, charges of indecent assault are usually brought months—or even years—after the alleged incident took place. This can cause a considerable problem in the prosecution of the crime as memories tend to fade over time and the facts of the case can become distorted meaning reasonable doubt can definitely exist. The evidence for an indecent assault and battery tends to be much more exacting than that of a more typical assault and battery.
Sex Offender Registration Required
The crime of indecent assault is a sexual offense and as such can exposed the person convicted to an entire battery of penalties as well as the necessity of registering as a sex offender for years or even a lifetime. Registering as a sex offender can literally change your life and your future and can provide just the opportunity for the police to re-arrest you for the most minor mistake, exposing you to further jail time. Convictions for the crime of indecent assault can carry penalties of up to five years in state prison. Charges of indecent assault are extremely serious and very complex and require the services of a highly qualified criminal defense attorney in order to ensure the accused’s rights are fully protected.
Indecent Assault on a Child Under the Age of Fourteen
The inappropriate touching of a person under the age of fourteen is a much more serious crime as the law says a child of this age is unable to give consent to be touched therefore the element of consent does not exist. All other elements of the crime remain the same however the penalties for a conviction are much more severe, bringing as much as ten years in a state prison as well as the necessity of registering as a sex offender and providing a sample of DNA.
Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney to Protect Your Future
Your attorney may attempt to have the charges reduced to a simple assault and battery in order to avoid the seriousness of sex offender registration. Your attorney may be able to offer the argument that your actions did not meet the legal standards for indecent assault, that the alleged victim actually consents, that you did not have the intent to touch the alleged victim inappropriately or that the touching which occurred was not, in fact, indecent. Hire an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately when charges have been filed and your chances of minimizing the damage to your future are much more likely.
As many as one in three women will experience at least one instance of domestic abuse or domestic violence in their lifetime. While there is never an excuse for a man to abuse or terrorize a woman—and those who do should be severely punished—there is a flip side to the story. Most people would be surprised to hear that a significant percentage of spouses who are verbally or physically abused are, in fact, husbands. It’s hard to get a solid number of the men who suffer domestic abuse or violence since most men who experience violence at the hand of their partners don’t report it, and when they do they are rarely believed. While a woman who levels charges of domestic abuse is generally immediately believed and protected, a man may not be nearly so fortunate. The shift in society’s attitude regarding domestic violence toward women is a positive change however few people are talking about the men who are abused by their spouses or the false allegations of domestic abuse made by women against men.
Why False Allegations are Made
Perhaps the number one reason false allegations of domestic violence are leveled is nothing more than revenge. A person who is angry about a divorce, an affair, a child custody case or an asset division they consider unfair could make the vengeful decision to “get even.” There is little way for the falsely accused to prove their innocence in a situation that is nothing more than “he said/she said.” The typically smaller, less physically able to defend herself woman is much more likely to be believed whether she is speaking the truth or not. False allegations can be seen as an easy win with little risk involved. Approximately 65% of those making accusations of domestic abuse will recant before the trial, with over 3/4ths of those being women.
Police and prosecutors put little stock in story recants, generally believing the male has intimated the woman into saying the incident never happened. While this is certainly true in some cases, in others the person doing the accusing has an attack of conscience and takes back an accusation which was never true in the first place. Many times false allegations of abuse are made in order to defame a parent during a contentious custody case. This can happen when a mother seeks to get full custody of the children using whatever means necessary. Courts tend to err on the side of caution, issuing a restraining order against the father with little or no actual evidence. Once a father has had charges of domestic abuse made against him, he will have to fight much harder to get any sort of custody or visitation for his children.
Perhaps the biggest tragedy involving false allegations of domestic violence is that a person’s vengeance and anger can effectively silence the voices of the true victims. Every time there is a cry of wolf, we begin to doubt the validity of every report of abuse—this means that the real victims can be turned away at a time they desperately need help. Those who have been falsely accused of domestic abuse must hire a highly experienced criminal defense attorney with a broad background in domestic abuse charges specifically. A conviction could alter your life forever, so take the charges very seriously and hire a legal professional to protect your rights and be your advocate.