What are the Burglary Crimes in Tennessee and Their Consequences?
In Tennessee, there are three separate burglary offenses: (1) burglary; (2) aggravated burglary; and (3) especially aggravated burglary. The crime of burglary applies to entering a commercial building with the intent to commit a felony; the crime of aggravated burglary consists of the same conduct except that the defendant has entered a residence instead of a commercial building; and the crime of especially aggravated burglary involves the same conduct except that the defendant has entered a home and the victim suffers serious bodily injury.
The crime of burglary consists of willfully entering a building, other than a dwelling place, with the intent to commit a felony. Thus, the crime of burglary applies if a person is attempting to break into a store, a warehouse, or some other commercial-type establishment with the intent to commit a felony, or the crimes of theft or assault.
The burglary statute also applies if a person “enters any freight or passenger car, automobile, truck, trailer, boat, airplane, or other motor vehicle with intent to commit a felony, theft, or assault or commits or attempts to commit a felony, theft, or assault.”
If convicted of the crime of burglary, the defendant is facing sentencing under either a Class D or Class E felony.
The crime of aggravated burglary applies when the defendant enters a “habitation” (a residence or home) with the requisite intent to commit a felony, theft, or assault. Thus, the crime of burglary applies to unlawfully entering a commercial establishment and the crime of aggravated burglary applies to unlawfully entering a home.
If convicted of the crime of aggravated burglary, the defendant is facing sentencing under a Class C felony.
There is yet another enhanced form of burglary called “especially aggravated burglary.” This applies if a person unlawfully enters a habitation (residence) and in the course of the burglary, the victim or dweller suffers a serious bodily injury.
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If convicted of the crime of especially aggravated burglary, the defendant is facing sentencing under a Class B felony.
Any burglary conviction carries significant consequences. The level of sentence depends not only on the underlying crime (burglary, aggravated burglary, or especially aggravated burglary) but also on whether the defendant is considered a standard, multiple, persistent, career, especially mitigated, or repeat violent offender. The designations of the type of offender are based on a person’s criminal history, namely the number of prior felony convictions a person has. A first-time offender would qualify as a standard offender or perhaps an especially mitigated offender under certain circumstances. But, those who have felonies on their record are facing more severe terms of imprisonment.
To give an idea, a Class E felony carry a term of imprisonment from one to six years; a Class D felony a term of imprisonment from two to 12 years; a Class C felony a term of imprisonment from three to 15 years; a Class D felony a term of imprisonment from eight to 30 years; and a Class E felony a term of imprisonment from 15 to 60 years. The different ranges within each classification of felony depends upon the defendant’s criminal history.
Many confuse burglary crimes with the crime of robbery. They are different. Burglary requires the unlawful enering of a building – either a commercial or residential building. Robbery does not require the unlawful entering into a building. Robbery applies to the forceful theft of another’s property with violence or the threat of violence. There are varying degrees of the crime of robbery too. For example, if a person commits robbery with a firearm or the victim suffers a serious bodily injury, the defendant has committed the crime of aggravated robbery.
Thus, if someone pulls a gun on a person and takes their wallet, the person has committed the crime of robbery. Instead, if the defendant breaks into a person’s business or home and steals something, the person has committed either the crime of burglary or aggravated burglary.
If you are facing burglary, aggravated burglary, or especially aggravated burglary charges, contact criminal defense attorney Philip N. Clark. Mr. Clark is not only experienced in criminal defense but he also served nearly 20 years as a police officer. He knows the criminal code of Tennessee. He may be able to mount a viable defense for you, or perhaps plead the case down to a lesser offense, such as criminal trespass.
The prosecution has the burden of proving every element of a criminal defense beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a very high evidentiary burden on the prosecution. Philip N. Clark knows how to fight for his clients and reduce criminal charges. If you are in trouble for burglary, contact Mr. Clark at PNC Law.