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Things to Know About Georgia Burglary Laws


The growing number of theft categories indicates that there will be more ways for someone to be caught and prosecuted for a criminal offense as time goes on. It also implies that there are more possibilities for someone to be falsely accused of committing theft and being unfairly penalized as a result.

A burglary charge is a serious offense. If you are convicted, you will have a felony on record and deal with considerable consequences such as severe fines, prison terms, and potentially parole or probation.

Retaining the services of a competent Georgia criminal defense attorney is critical to your case’s success. A Georgia criminal lawyer will determine which defenses are most advantageous in your case and will be able to advocate those defenses effectively in court.

Today, we will share some of the most pertinent information you should be aware of in regard to Georgia burglary laws.

An Overview of Georgia’s Burglary Laws

In Georgia, burglary is defined as the unlawful entry into another person’s house, structure, or vehicle without being given access and to execute a felony while on the premises. You must plot to commit an underlying offense, which could be a theft-related crime or a crime against a person, such as assault. Similar to other Georgia criminal charges, burglary has multiple degrees of punishment depending upon the complexity of the crime.

All theft offenses are considered felonies in Georgia. However, not every incidence of someone illegally accessing another’s property is considered a burglary. In the case of Georgia state law, there are numerous variables involved, as well as numerous defenses to be levied against charges.

How Does Georgia Law Define Burglary in the First Degree?

Burglary happens when a person enters a property or other building without authorization or approval with the purpose of committing a theft or another felony crime.

The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (“OCGA”) defines the offense of burglary in the first degree in Georgia law. The OCGA is a comprehensive collection of Georgia’s laws and legislation. First-degree burglary, according to OCGA burglary laws, happens when:

  • The defendant enters or inhabits another person’s occupied or vacant home along with any building, vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, railroad car, or other types of residential structure;
  • Without being granted authorization; and
  • With the purpose to conduct theft or another serious crime.

What Is Second Degree Burglary in Georgia?

An individual commits second-degree burglary when they occupy a vacant building, stays in an occupied or unoccupied structure, aircraft, watercraft, railroad car without permission, with the primary goal of perpetrating a crime or theft therein.

The element of “a dwelling place” distinguishes first and second-degree burglary, which indicates that the building does not have to be a place where someone could live for the purpose of violating the second-degree burglary statute. It may be something like a farm in actuality.

Potential Penalties for Burglary

A conviction for burglary has quite substantial consequences. The following are the potential penalties for burglary:

  • – First Degree Felony: A person convicted of this crime faces a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
  • – Second Degree: A person can be punished to up to 5 years in jail for this crime.
  • – Smash and Grab: A felony conviction for smash and grab burglary can result in up to 20 years in prison and fines of $100,000.

With the assistance of an attorney, anyone convicted of burglary may request that their sentence be probated or suspended. If a person has been convicted of burglary four times or more, that is not a possibility or an option.

Potential Defense Strategies

You can learn more about how the circumstances of your case identify the ideal defense approach by engaging with your defense attorney. If a conviction appears to be probable, your defense attorney can assist you in negotiating a fair plea agreement with the prosecution. They can and will advocate for you in the courtroom, whether you intend to take the case to trial or not.

Evidence is critical in determining whether or not you will be convicted, as well as whether or not the prosecution is ready to deal with you. However, if you can prove that evidence was collected in violation of your constitutional rights, we may be able to have it deemed inadmissible, which would have a considerable positive influence on your case.

Schwartz Law Is Dedicated To Defending Your Rights And Freedom

The Schwartz Law team has been serving Cobb County with experienced, proven legal defense strategies for years. We specialize in DUI cases and drug-related offenses, traffic crimes, and general criminal defense.

Andrew L. Schwartz is a highly experienced former prosecutor and will tenaciously defend you using his knowledge and experience to provide the best solutions to your legal problems and build a solid defense to protect you and your rights. Contact us today so we can help you fight for your freedom.

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