The people of Nebraska have the right to be free from an invasion into their homes. In summary, the burglary definition indicates that burglary is a forceful entry into another’s home or building with the intent to commit a felony. Therefore, burglary is a serious invasion of privacy.
Burglary endangers the occupants of the home and the alleged burglar as well. That’s why prosecutors aggressively pursue harsh punishments for people accused of committing burglary.
If you have a burglary charge, you face the possibility of a long prison sentence. You need the services of a lawyer who knows how to defend cases aggressively and give you the best chance to avoid a burglary conviction.
Tom Petersen and his team with Petersen Criminal Defense Law are ready and waiting to fight for you.
What Is Burglary?
According to Nebraska Revised Statutes Section 28-507, burglary is the willful, malicious, and forceful act of breaking and entering into real estate or any buildings on the land of another.
In addition, the burglary definition indicates that the person must enter the property with the intent to commit a felony therein or steal property regardless of value.
It is important to understand the elements of the crime if you have burglary charges. The prosecution has to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of each element before a jury or judge can convict you.
The elements of burglary are:
- Willful and malicious entry into real property—including buildings and improvements on the property— that belongs to another person;
- With force or after removing some impediment to entry such as a door;
- While having the intent to commit a felony inside the real property; or
- With the intent to steal something regardless of the value of the item.
The crime is complete upon entry onto the premises while having felonious intent. A person does not have to actually commit the intended felony or steal any property to be guilty of burglary.
Notwithstanding, you could face additional charges if the police say you committed a crime inside the building.
Other Crimes Associated with Burglary in Nebraska
Depending on what the police say happened in your case, you could face additional charges. Some charges we often see associated with burglary are:
- Possession of burglar’s tools,
- Aggravated assault,
- Domestic assault,
- Rape, and
The police may also bring misdemeanor charges such as criminal mischief as a result of damage caused by the burglary.
What Is the Penalty for Burglary?
Burglary on its own is a Class IIA felony. According to Nebraska Revised Statutes Section 28-105, there is no minimum punishment for a Class IIA felony. However, the maximum penalty is 20 years in the state penitentiary.
You may be eligible for probation after a burglary conviction because the statute does not require a minimum incarceration sentence.
However, you may face a sentence on each of your additional charges, and the judge could run these sentences consecutively instead of concurrently. Accordingly, if you have more than one charge, you could serve additional time in prison after your burglary sentence ends.
A sentencing judge will look at aggravating and mitigating factors when figuring out the appropriate sentence for you. Mitigating factors that tend to lessen your sentence include your age, educational level, the severity of the offense, and lack of a criminal record.
Your family history also may impact the judge’s sentencing decision.
On the other hand, you could receive an aggravated burglary sentence if:
- Someone suffered an injury;
- You brandished a firearm or other deadly weapon;
- Someone made threats to do bodily harm; or
- The vulnerability of the victim was high due to age, sickness, disability, or pregnancy.
These aggravating factors could potentially cause a judge to increase your sentence. The judge will look at the motive for the crime as well. For instance, they might take a drug addiction into account if that was your motive to commit burglary.
You could receive an enhanced penalty in certain situations if the victims belonged to a protected class of people.
Defenses Under Nebraska Burglary Laws
You should consult with an experienced Nebraska criminal defense lawyer to see which defenses would work the best in your case. The defense strategy that worked well in one case might not work in yours because each case is unique.
However, there are some common strategies that we’ve used successfully in the past, such as:
- Arguing that the state does not have enough evidence to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and, therefore, has not met its burden;
- Poking holes in scientific evidence that ties you to the scene, such as fingerprints and DNA evidence;
- Offering an alibi defense that shows you were somewhere else when the crime occurred;
- Demonstrating that you did not have the mens rea—i.e., criminal intent—to commit a felony or steal something; or
- You entered the property without malice because you either believe you had a right to be there, or you believe that you own the property.
You and your lawyer should evaluate the facts of your case and determine the best course of action.
Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Nebraska Defense Lawyer
Criminal defense lawyer Tom Petersen and his trusted team with Petersen Criminal Defense Law have decades of experience fighting for people just like you. Tom and his staff have successfully defended thousands of cases, including cases similar to yours.
Tom takes a no-nonsense approach to defend your rights: he won’t lecture you, he won’t judge you, but he will defend you. Contact Tom today at 402-509-8070 for a free consultation with award-winning Tom Petersen.