Being accused of a crime can be terrifying. The outcome of your case can have a profound impact on your life and your family. Burglary is a serious offense with serious repercussions, so it’s important to understand what’s involved in such a charge.

What does burglary really mean?

The phrase ‘breaking and entering’ is often used to refer to burglary but this can be wildly misleading. Missouri Statute Sections 569.160 and 569.170 define burglary as entering or remaining in a building with for the purpose of committing a crime. Note that the statute says nothing about breaking anything – because forcible entry is not required.

Rather, the crux of burglary is the intent of the person – did they enter (or remain) with the intent to do something illegal? Often, the illegal intent could be for stealing something, but the statute intentionally omits specific crimes such as theft. Any intended crime may satisfy the elements of the statute.

Proof of burglary can be illusive

While the idea behind burglary is fairly simple, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to prove. For instance, how would law enforcement know the intent of the person they’ve accused? They cannot read minds. Instead, they will often rely on statements made by the accused to prove their intent. In circumstances like these, it’s critical to understand that you not only have the right to remain silent, you must also exercise it.

An accusation of burglary is not the same thing as a conviction for burglary. You need the assistance of a knowledgeable professional, who is experienced in Missouri criminal law, to help you navigate your case to a successful conclusion.