The Difference Between Burglary and Criminal Trespass Charges

Difference Between Burglary and Criminal Trespass ChargesBurglary and criminal trespass are two related, yet distinct, property crimes with different penalties.

Criminal trespass occurs when a person enters or remains on or in the property of another, including residential land, agricultural land, an RV park, a building or a vehicle without effective consent. The person must notice that entry is forbidden, or must receive notice to depart and fail before police can levy criminal trespass charges. For a conviction, prosecutors must prove these elements beyond a reasonable doubt.

Burglary, on the other hand, involves a person entering a private habitation with the intent to create a felony, theft or assault. Alternatively, someone can face burglary charges for breaking into a vehicle. You can also face burglary charges for breaking into a coin-operated machine with the intent to commit a felony or theft.

Intent is the key difference between the crimes.

The Penalties for Burglary and Criminal Trespass

Criminal trespass is a misdemeanor, ranging from Class C to Class A based on the severity of the crime. Penalties range from a fine of up to $500 (Class C) to up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000 (Class A).

Burglary, on the other hand, is a felony. If committed in a building that is not a habitation, it is a state jail felony. If committed in a habitation it is a second-degree felony. And burglary is a first-degree felony if the residence is a habitation and the perpetrator intends to commit a felony other than theft, such as assault. These penalties range from at least six months to two years in state jail and fines up to $10,000 to five to life in prison plus a fine of up to $10,000.



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