New York Burglary Lawyers
Burglary is a felony in New York, the most serious type of criminal offense. If you are convicted, you could be facing thousands of dollars in fines, years or even decades of incarceration, and a permanent criminal record that any prospective employer or landlord can access.
When everything you value is on the line, including your freedom and reputation, you need dedicated support from a team of aggressive defense attorneys with extensive experience handling burglary charges in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. With over 30 years of experience representing defendants charged with burglary and related property crimes, the New York criminal lawyers of Sullivan & Galleshaw are committed to tough, tenacious, and strategic client advocacy.
To set up a free and completely confidential legal consultation with Sullivan & Galleshaw, call our law offices at (800) 730-0135 right away. We are here to answer your questions and help you understand your options.
Experienced Defense Lawyers Handling Burglary Cases in Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan
It’s a common misconception that robbery, burglary, and theft (“larceny”) all refer to the same crime. While these terms might be synonymous in everyday conversation, from a legal standpoint they are completely different crimes with different definitions and penalties. As a defendant, or a defendant’s family member, it is important to understand the nature of the charges against you or your loved one.
Burglary is charged when, allegedly, the defendant knowingly and unlawfully entered or remained upon another person’s property. That property could be a school, a business, a private residence like a home or apartment, or any other piece of real estate.
By comparison, the crime of robbery involves forcible stealing, such as mugging. Theft, or larceny, is a very broad charge that includes the unlawful taking of property, services, and even intangible items like personal data and identifying information.
Serving Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens, the knowledgeable defense attorneys of Sullivan & Galleshaw handle a variety of serious property crimes and related offenses, including but not limited to:
- Burglary (Third Degree, Second Degree, First Degree)
- Criminal Mischief (Fourth Degree, Third Degree, Second Degree, First Degree)
- Criminal Trespass (Third Degree, Second Degree, First Degree)
- Possession of Burglar’s Tools
- Robbery (Third Degree, Second Degree, First Degree)
- Unlawful Possession of Radio Devices
Were You Arrested and Charged with Burglary Under NY Penal Law 140?
Burglary and related offenses against property are consolidated under NY Penal Law §140.00. In New York, there are three levels to burglary charges, differentiated by “degree”: third degree burglary, second degree burglary, and first degree burglary. While first degree burglary is the most serious charge in terms of sentencing, all three offenses are categorized as felonies. There is no misdemeanor classification.
- Third Degree Burglary (NY Penal Law §140.20)
- Classification – Class D Felony
- Definition – Charged when the defendant “knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a building with intent to commit a crime therein.”
This definition mentions intent to commit “a crime,” which is not necessarily limited to actual or attempted acts of theft. A person could also be charged with burglary for breaking into a building with the intent to commit vandalism, assault, or other offenses.
- Second Degree Burglary (NY Penal Law §140.25)
- Classification – Class C Violent Felony
- Definition – Charged when a person commits third degree burglary and is either armed with a weapon, injures somebody, uses or threatens to use a “dangerous instrument,” or displays a gun or gun replica. A defendant can also be charged with burglary in the second degree if the property is somebody’s home or apartment (“a dwelling”).
New York defines the term “dangerous instrument” to include any item which is “readily capable of causing death or other serious physical injury.” A “dangerous instrument” does not have to be an actual weapon.
- First Degree Burglary (NY Penal Law §140.30)
- Classification – Class B Violent Felony
- Definition – The circumstances under which a defendant can be charged with burglary in the first degree are similar to those for second degree burglary charges, with the addition that the defendant was entering or fleeing from the scene.
Criminal Penalties for Burglary in New York: Fines and Prison Sentencing
New York violent felonies typically receive a determinate sentence, whereas nonviolent felonies often receive an indeterminate sentence. A determinate sentence involves a fixed number of years, while indeterminate sentencing refers to a range of years. A defendant who is convicted of burglary may face the following fines and prison sentences:
- Class D Felony
- Minimum Sentence – No jail, possible probation
- Maximum Sentence – 7 years
- Class C Violent Felony
- Minimum Sentence – 3.5 years
- Maximum Sentence – 15 years
- Class B Violent Felony
- Minimum Sentence – 5 years
- Maximum Sentence – 25 years
The maximum fine for a felony conviction is either $5,000 or double whatever the defendant gained from the crime – whichever amount is larger.
Consequences for Possession of Burglar’s Tools
Under NY Penal Law §140.35, you can also be arrested and criminally charged if you are caught with burglar’s tools, such as lock picks, crowbars, ski masks, gloves, or climbing ropes. Possession of these and/or other burglary tools is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail plus a fine of up to $1,000.
If you or someone you love was arrested on burglary charges in New York City, you need an experienced legal team fighting on your side. For a free and private legal consultation, call the law offices of Sullivan & Galleshaw at (800) 730-0135 right away.