Burglary 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.