What Is Second-Degree Burglary?

Understanding how the law assesses burglaries.


September 16, 2020

3 125 What-Is-Second-Degree-Burglary Desktop

Burglary is a crime that is more common than you think. Did you know that according to the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, in 2015 a burglary occurred every 1.6 minutes in the U.S.? Furthermore, in America, all states have incorporated the basic concept of burglary into their penal codes, though most have different interpretations. As a part of the definition of burglary, it is broken down into several degrees, depending on the severity of the crime. One common charge associated with burglary is “second-degree burglary.”

A Broad Look at Burglary

Before defining second-degree burglary, let’s first look at the formal definition of burglary. For this offense to have occurred, a person must have unlawfully entered and/or remained in a home, business, or other property, without the owner’s permission with the intent to commit a crime. Even if they didn’t end up committing the crime, just entering with the intent typically counts as a burglary. Crimes that fall under this definition (depending on specific state laws) include:

  • Intent to steal property

  • Stalking a person on the premises

  • Causing harm to someone inside

  • Intent to cause arson

There do not need to be signs of forced entry, in some states a person could have entered through an unlocked door. The owner does not have to be home for burglary to have been committed against them.

What Is Second Degree Burglary?

Each state looks at second-degree burglary differently, so to fully understand this charge, it’s important to look at individual state laws to see how each jurisdiction defines it.  Depending on state law, some second-degree burglary variations include:

  • Breaking into a dwelling, office, shed, barn, boat, car, or other structure and, only upon getting inside, formed an intent to commit the crime

  • Committed the crime without violence or the victim was not present when the burglary occurred

  • A weapon was present during the unlawful entry

  • Burglar entered a commercial building without authorization

  • Burglar entered a residential home or property

You should know, regardless of state, first-degree burglary is always the most serious of burglary charges, usually meaning the crime was premeditated and probably involved some form of violence.

What is the Punishment for Second-Degree Burglary?

If a person is convicted of second-degree burglary by a judge or jury, he or she will be sentenced under local applicable laws. This crime is almost always charged as a felony (with a few state exceptions). Offenders typically receive jail time and are ordered to pay fines and/or restitution. When sentencing, the court considers:

  • Severity of the crime

  • How much the stolen property is worth (if applicable)

  • Previous criminal history

  • If violence took place during the crime

Burglary is a frightening experience and one that can make a victim feel violated. A monitored home security program can lessen the chances of becoming a victim of burglary or other related crimes, as most burglars try to determine if an alarm is present before attempting a burglary.

Interested in learning more about home security? Call Brinks Home™ for a free quote today.

Lauren Slade is a Dallas-based writer and editor.

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