The crime of breaking into and entering the home, building, or vehicle owned by another person is a very serious crime under Oklahoma law. Beginning in November 2018, the state will divide burglary into three categories. First degree burglary occurs when someone breaks into another person’s home while a person is present, with the intent to commit a felony once inside, through improper means of entry. Most burglaries in Oklahoma are second degree burglary, which include breaking and entering into a home with nobody present or a commercial building where property is held, with the intent to commit a crime. In addition, the breaking into things such as vending machines, coin operated devices, or ATM machines, in an effort to steal money or items, is considered second degree burglary.
While first degree burglary carries a sentence between seven and twenty years, and second degree burglary carries a sentence up to seven years, Oklahoma law now features a new category of burglary, third degree burglary, which carries a sentence up to five years in prison. This lesser form of burglary may be charged when someone broke into and entered a vehicle, truck, trailer, boat, or other vessel, with the intent to steal or commit a felony.
One important feature of a burglary charge is that first degree burglary is what is known as an “85% crime.” Because of this, a convicted person will be required to serve 85% of the time of their sentence before being eligible for parole or supervised release. This type of designation is reserved for the most serious crimes in our society, and the law in Oklahoma considers burglary to be one of them. If a person is charged with first degree burglary, they may be facing over fifteen years in prison because of this rule.
There are a number of activities that can be considered breaking into a building or property, for purposes of a burglary charge. Forcibly breaking windows, prying open doors, picking locks, using unauthorized copies of keys, or even lifting an unlocked latch to a fence or opening an unlocked car door, can all be considered a method of illegal entry. It may therefore be possible for an innocent person to be charged with burglary if they believed they had authority to use a vehicle or access a building when they did not. Because of this, people have been charged with burglary for such activities and misunderstanding. If you are charged with burglary, you need someone with the right experience in court to make it very clear to prosecutors and, if necessary, a jury, that your actions were not a crime. If you find yourself charged with burglary, or any other criminal act, call me today for a free consultation so that you can know your rights and defend the allegations against you.