When someone enters or breaks into a property, whether a person(s) is home or not, without authentication, Oklahoma law considers that burglary. But to ascertain that the crime committed is truly burglary, you need to know the elements that mark it, as well as the degree to classify it. Read on to find out more of this, including the potential penalties and common defenses.
Elements of burglary in Oklahoma
There are three factors that the Oklahoma court uses to classify a crime as burglary. They include:
- Breaking and entering without permission
- There has to be a structure or building
- The person entering has an intention of committing a crime
In order to break into a building, some force must be used. This force can be simply pushing a door that is half open to gain entry or blackmailing someone to open the door for you. In addition, entry doesn’t mean that you must walk into the building; Oklahoma court counts sticking your hand through the window or any other open point as burglary.
Degrees of burglaries in Oklahoma
Oklahoma law classifies burglary into different degrees depending on its seriousness and the factors involved. However, they are all felonies. The two main degrees include the first and the second.
First-degree burglary, according to Oklahoma Stat. tit. 21 § 1431, involves breaking and entering a building with people with the intention of committing a crime. It differs from the second-degree on the condition that no one was in the property when the burglar broke in.
Penalties for burglary in Oklahoma
Oklahoma courts treat burglary as a serious crime; thus, penalties are quite harsh. If the court convicts you of first-degree burglary, you will serve a minimum of seven years in prison to 20 years, depending on other underlying factors. Second-degree penalties include up to 7 years of incarceration.
Common defenses in a burglary case
Your criminal defense attorney will find the best defenses for a burglary lawsuit based on the circumstances involved. However, the common vindication includes:
- Coercion into partaking in the offense
- You did not have the intention of permanently depriving the victim of their item
- Your identity was mistaken
- You caused little to no harm
In Oklahoma, breaking and entering, even without taking or doing anything to someone or their property, is already a crime. If another crime is committed during the breaking and entering, the situation becomes even more serious.