You don’t have to steal to face burglary charges

On Behalf of | Oct 5, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

Burglary is a somewhat common form of theft or property crime, but it is largely misunderstood by the public. Writers and movie directors love to depict dramatic thefts that involve specialized equipment. In the real world, theft usually involves broken windows and a hasty grab-and-dash operation.

The confusion around burglary becomes more intense in part because every state has a slightly different definition of this kind of property crime.

What constitutes burglary in Nebraska?

Burglary involves illegal entry onto someone else’s property with criminal intent. The law applies to privately owned land, as well as any improvements on the property. Burglars don’t necessarily have to steal something to face criminal charges.

Under state law, all they need to do is illegally force entry into a property with the intention of committing a serious criminal act. The illegal entry with criminal intent is a Class IIA felony. The person accused could face secondary charges based on any criminal activity that occurs while illegally at the property.

The state could charge someone with burglary and assault if they physically attack someone in a home but not steal any of their property. Burglars who do take property from a home or business could face a second felony charge for the act of stealing if the property that they take is worth $1,500 or more and misdemeanor charges for property worth less than that. The state even criminalizes the possession of tools frequently used to burglarize homes and businesses, such as lockpicks.

Understanding what might lead to burglary charges can help you avoid mistakes that can look like a serious theft crime to Nebraska prosecutors and police officers.