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New York Penal Law § 140.20 – Burglary in the Third Degree

Dedicated New York Criminal Defense Lawyers Aggressively Defending Clients Charged with Serious Felony Crimes

Burglary in the Third Degree is a crime that prohibits unlawful entry into a building with the intent to commit a crime while inside the building. Burglary in the Third Degree is the least serious burglary offense in New York and is considered a Class D felony. It is also not considered a violent offense unlike the other burglary charges which are considered violent offenses.

The Elements of Burglary in the Third Degree

Before a judge or jury can convict anyone of Burglary in the Third Degree, the government must prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. The elements of Burglary in the Third Degree are:

  1. The defendant unlawfully entered or remained in a building;
  2. The defendant knew they did not have permission to enter or remain in the building;
  3. The defendant entered or remained in the building with intent to commit a crime.

In this context, building refers to any structure, vehicle or watercraft that is capable of overnight lodging. The term also includes schools and businesses.

Examples of Burglary in the Third Degree

Some of the most common examples of Burglary in the Third Degree include the following:

  • Walking into another’s home without permission with intent to remove property from the residence; or
  • Hiding in a department store dressing room after the store closes in hopes of committing a theft.
Related Offenses to NY Penal Law § 140.20

Often, prosecutors bring Burglary in the Third Degree charges along with one or more other crimes, most notably, the crime they intended to commit while inside the building. In this way, burglary can be charged with any number of other offenses, such as assault, robbery, murder, or sexual abuse.

However, the following offenses are related crimes to the crime of burglary itself:

  1. Trespass – NY Penal Law § 140.05
  2. Criminal Trespass in the Third Degree – NY Penal Law § 140.10
  3. Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree – NY Penal Law § 140.15
  4. Criminal Trespass in the First Degree – NY Penal Law § 140.17
  5. Burglary in the Second Degree – NY Penal Law § 140.25
  6. Burglary in the First Degree – NY Penal Law § 140.30
  7. Possession of Burglar’s Tools – NY Penal Law § 140.35
What Are the Defenses to Burglary in the Third Degree?

There are several defenses to Burglary in the Third Degree that can either reduce your sentencing exposure or result in the prosecution withdrawing the case against you or the jury returning a “not guilty” verdict. The most common defenses include the following:

  • Insufficient evidence you intended to commit a crime while inside the building;
  • You had the building owner’s permission to enter or remain on the premises; or
  • You thought you had permission to enter or remain in the building.

Notably, you do not need to be convicted of the underlying offense to be convicted of burglary. In other words, if you have a defense to the crime the prosecution claims you intended to commit, it may not be a defense to the burglary charge.

What Are the Penalties for Violating NY Penal Law § 140.20?

Burglary in the Third Degree is a Class D felony. In New York, Class D felony offenses carry a maximum sentence of up to four years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

Speak with an Experienced New York Burglary Lawyer About Your Case Today

If you are currently facing New York burglary charges, it is essential that you understand what’s at stake and what you can do to prevent being convicted. At Tilem & Associates, P.C., our dedicated New York burglary lawyers have extensive experience defending clients charged with all types of serious property crimes, including Burglary in the Third Degree. We are immediately available to meet with you to get started working on a compelling defense to the charges you face. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 877-377-8666. You can also reach us through our online contact form.

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