What Is Third Degree Burglary?


September 1, 2020

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The terms theft, robbery, and burglary are often used interchangeably. However, by law, they are not one and the same. For instance, in most states, to be charged with a robbery, there must be a victim present at the scene and intimidation or force must be used to steal something. However, for any burglary charge, regardless of the degree, the criminal must have unlawfully entered a property.  An important thing to remember is burglary laws will always vary from state to state. 

Third Degree Burglary Basics 

Burglary in the third degree is a less severe offense than second degree and first-degree burglary charges. In many cases, a first-time offender may be subject to a third-degree burglary charge if he or she knowingly entered a building with the intent to commit the crime. Whether or not another crime occurred during the break-in does not matter. For instance, if a person crawled through a basement window, but fled after hearing a family dog, he or she can still be charged with a burglary offense. 

Sentences for third degree burglary convictions carry reduced maximum sentences. For instance, in New York, a first-degree burglary conviction  has a maximum prison sentence of 25 years while a third degree burglary sentence will be a maximum of seven years. Under New York law, first degree burglaries will reflect a more serious crime. In this case, prosecutors must not only prove unlawful entry, but also that a weapon was used, or the victim was injured during the burglary. 

State Laws to Consider 

Not all states have a penal code that includes third degree burglary. For instance, California only has first degree and second-degree burglary charges. Second degree burglaries in California is simply defined as a burglary that does not meet the criteria for first degree burglary.  In Arizona, most  third-degree burglary offenses are reserved for those who break-in and steal commercial property or those who commit auto theft.  

Protection Against Burglaries 

One thing is for sure, any type of burglary feels like a  violation. There’s something disturbing about the thought of someone entering your home and invading your space. Unfortunately, many burglars are never caught and the idea  that they could strike again can make you feel unsafe. However, there’s no reason you should abandon the home you love.  Instead, the best protection for your home is a reliable security system with 24/7 professional monitoring. Benefits of a monitored system will include: 

  • Property Protection 

  • Deter Burglars 

  • Lower Home Insurance Rates 

  • Fire and Carbon Monoxide Monitoring 

  • Monitoring Children and the Elderly 

  • Checking on Pets 

  • Remote Home Access 

  • Home Automation 

  • Peace of Mind 

If you’d like to learn more about how a professionally monitored system keeps you safe around the clock, contact Brinks Home Security ™.  

Lauren Slade is a Dallas-based writer and editor.  

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