You could be sentenced to a lengthy prison sentence if you are convicted of burglary in Arizona. Even if you are guilty, you need to aggressively defend against the charges you face. The first step in defending yourself is to know the common burglary offenses, what must be proven to convict you, and the punishments for these crimes under Arizona law.

What Is Considered Burglary in Arizona?

Burglar Using a Crowbar to Break Into a HouseIt is considered burglary to unlawfully enter or remain in a structure or property with the intent to commit theft or another felony. There are three burglary crimes a person could be charged with committing if they are arrested for breaking and entering. All three crimes are serious felony offenses in Arizona.

First-Degree Burglary

First-degree burglary is the most serious of the three burglary crimes. Under ARS §13-1508, this offense is committed if an individual or an accomplice does the following:

  • Commits second- or third-degree burglary
  • Knowingly possesses an explosive, deadly weapon, or dangerous instrument when committing the crime

An individual would be considered in possession of an explosive, deadly weapon, or dangerous instrument if they physically hold or carry it or have control over it. A dangerous instrument is broadly defined to include anything that is used, attempted to be used, or threatened to be used that is capable of seriously injuring or killing someone.

This crime would be charged as a Class 2 felony if the offense is committed in a residential structure. If the location of the crime was a nonresidential structure or fenced commercial or residential yard, a defendant would be charged with a Class 3 felony.

Second-Degree Burglary

ARS §13-1507 defines second-degree burglary as unlawfully entering or remaining in a residential structure with the intent to commit a theft or other felony in the structure. It is considered entering a residential structure if the accused penetrates the structure or an outer boundary of it. For example, it would be sufficient if they penetrated a door, window, or wall, or inserted a pry bar into a door jam.

A residential structure could be any type of structure that is an individual’s residence, such as a home, condo, or apartment and can be occupied or unoccupied. Second-degree burglary is a Class 3 felony offense.

Third-Degree Burglary

Third-degree burglary is the least serious burglary offense. It is charged as a Class 4 felony. Under ARS §13-1506, a person commits this crime by doing one of the following:

  • Unlawfully entering and remaining in or on a nonresidential structure or a fenced commercial or residential yard with the intent to commit a theft or other felony crime
  • Making an entry into any part of a motor vehicle through the use of a manipulation or master key with the intent to commit a theft or other felony in the vehicle

Under this law, a structure can include a car, truck, or other motor vehicle.

What Are the Penalties for Burglary?

You need to understand the punishments you could face if you plead guilty to or are convicted of a burglary offense when making important decisions in your case, such as whether to accept a plea bargain. In Arizona, your sentence would be determined by a number of factors, such as which felony you are charged with committing and your prior criminal history. Here are the sentencing ranges for these crimes:

  • Class 4 felony. Minimum of one year up to three and three-quarters years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000
  • Class 3 felony. Minimum of two years up to eight and three-quarters years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000
  • Class 2 felony. Minimum of seven years to up to 21 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000

In addition to the harsh punishments you face, you would also have long-term consequences for the rest of your life, such as difficulty obtaining housing and a job.

Have You or a Loved One Been Arrested for Allegedly Committing a Burglary Crime in Northern Arizona or Flagstaff?

Our experienced criminal defense lawyers are here to mount a strong defense strategy for you that could result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a less serious office. Call our Flagstaff office at 928-226-0165 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today to learn more about how we can defend you. We also invite you to order our free book, Accused of a Crime in Arizona: What Happens Next Is Up to You.


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