Traditionally, courts in Massachusetts and throughout the country defined burglary as the breaking and entering of a dwelling house in the nighttime with the specific intent to commit a felony. This definition, known as “common law burglary,” is maintained in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266 Section 14.
“Breaking” basically means a physical break. It includes opening an unlocked door, but it does not include going in through an open door or other passable opening. “Entering” means that some part of the body (or an instrumentality like a tool) was inside the building. A “dwelling house” is a place where a person sleeps regularly. “In the nighttime” means one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise. The felony involved in the “intent to commit a felony” element is typically larceny. The prosecutor doesn’t have to prove that the defendant actually committed the crime to satisfy this last element as long as he/she can prove that the defendant had the intent to do so.
Here in modern–day Massachusetts, “common law burglary” is not the only definition of burglary. We have a variety of statutory modifications that expand the definition to include breaking and entering into any building (not just a dwelling) at any time (not just at night) with the intent to commit a felony. While very broad, the statutory expansion does not cover entering a building (without a breaking) during the day.
Courts will treat burglary as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the case. A variety of factors will come into play including:
- Time of day
- Whether any person was injured
- The type of building entered
- The value of the property stolen
Depending on the facts of the case, the sentence can range from probation to serious jail time. You might even be facing life in prison if it has been alleged that you were armed with a dangerous weapon or that you assaulted a person in the house.
Burglary Defense Representation at the Law Firm of Altman & Altman, LLP
For over 40 years, the Greater Boston Law Firm of Altman & Altman, LLP has been providing outstanding criminal defense legal services to clients throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Our criminal defense attorneys have appeared as legal analysts on The Fox News Channel, MSNBC, The BBC Network and CourtTV. Through our lawyers' experience, knowledge and courtroom expertise, our firm delivers legal advice of the highest quality to our clients.
At the MA Criminal Law Firm of Altman & Altman, LLP, we understand that facing charges of Burglary in Massachusetts is frequently a confusing and frightening experience for those involved. In order to protect your rights and help put your mind at ease, our Boston criminal lawyers will stand by your side throughout the entire criminal process. We will fully explain your legal rights and will outline all of the legal avenues available to resolve your legal matter.
If you are facing charges of Burglary in Massachusetts, please Contact the law firm of Altman & Altman, LLP to schedule a Free Initial Consultation with one of our Criminal Defense Attorneys. Our Phones are answered around the clock – twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. In addition to being available by phone 24/7, all Emails sent to our firm receive an immediate response.