What is Classified as Burglary in Utah?

When you do a Google image search for “burglar,” you get pictures of a stereotypical robber who is about to steal from a bank or jeweler.

However, you may be surprised to find out burglary and theft are not the same thing. In fact, they are two separate crimes, and both make the list of the ten most common crimes in Utah.

While they tend to go hand-in-hand, you can get charged with burglary without stealing a cent.

Definition of Burglary

In Utah, you commit burglary when you illegally enter a property with the intent of committing one out of a list of possible crimes.

Non-Robbery Example

Let’s say there is a man named George who really doesn’t like his boss Chris. George formulates a plot to break into Chris’s home in the middle of the night and kill him.

When the time comes, George sneaks to the side of the house, where there are no cameras. He breaks one of the windows and enters. What he didn’t account for was the noise that his action would cause. It wakes Chris up.

Meanwhile, a cop is patrolling the area, and he sees George break in. He turns on his body camera and goes to investigate. George has a bit of a lead, so the cop walks in through the broken window and follows.

George makes his way upstairs with a revolver in his hand. Chris opens his bedroom door and sees him, but before George can do anything, the officer comes up from behind and tells him to drop the weapon. George complies.

In this situation, George would likely get multiple charges. One of them is burglary because he:

  1. ​Entered a property illegally
  2. With the intent to commit a felony, which in this case is murder.

Notice that in this situation, he didn’t even follow through with the crime. He just intended to do it.

Punishment for Burglary

Burglary is not a “minor” crime at all, even though you may not even do what you set out to do. It is a third-degree felony. This means you can get up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

However, that is not the full story when it comes to punishment. Burglary is committed while either committing another crime or attempting to commit another crime. This means the perpetrator can face multiple charges at one time.

In the example above, George would probably be charged with burglary in addition to attempted murder — a first-degree felony, meaning five years to life in prison — and property damage — a second-degree felony, meaning one-to-fifteen years. George may end up facing three or more felonies, and the possible prison time from each can add up.

Why George Would Want a Lawyer

It seems pretty obvious that George is guilty. Chris saw George with the revolver, about to take his life. The cop saw the whole thing too, and he has body camera footage to prove it. George is going to prison no matter what. So why would he need a lawyer?

As guilty as he is, a lawyer would be vital for George. He needs someone in his corner who can advocate for him so he doesn’t get a harsher punishment than he actually deserves. Without an attorney, George probably couldn’t navigate the legal system well enough, and he may end up spending more time in prison than he should.

The lawyers at Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat are great options if you are ever in legal trouble. They have been practicing the law for over 20 years. If you are ever in need of legal assistance, call (801) 532-5297 for a free consultation.

Sources

https://www.brownbradshaw.com/posts/10-most-common-crimes-utah

https://le.utah.gov/xcode/title76/chapter6/76-6-s202.html

https://www.brownbradshaw.com/posts/why-intent-matters-in-utah-criminal-cases

https://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title76/Chapter4/76-4-S102.html?v=C76-4-S102_1800010118000101#76-4-102(1)(b)

https://www.utcourts.gov/en/self-help/case-categories/criminal-justice/penalties.html

https://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title76/Chapter6/76-6-S106.1.html?v=C76-6-S106.1_2023050320230503

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