Burglary is generally defined as the unlawful entry into a dwelling or structure with the intent to commit another crime thereafter. Under the original common law definition of burglary, the crime could only happen at night. However, all states have updated their laws so that burglary can occur at any time of day. Another change to many burglary laws is that the crime no longer needs to involve breaking and entering. Instead, burglary can happen when a person is allowed to legally enter into a building or structure, but they remain inside beyond the time that they are allowed to be there.

What Is Burglary in the First Degree in Georgia?   

According to Georgia law, burglary in the first degree is breaking entering into or remaining in a vacant, occupied, or unoccupied:

  • House
  • Railroad car
  • Watercraft
  • Aircraft
  • Building
  • Vehicle
  • Structure designed to be used as a dwelling

The person remains in or enters into the property without authority and with the intent to commit a theft or a felony, such as rape or kidnapping, once inside.

What Is a Dwelling?

A dwelling refers to any building, structure, or portion of a building or structure designed or intended to be occupied for residential use.

Are Robbery and Burglary Similar Criminal Charges?

No. Robbery is taking personal property owned by someone else without the owner’s permission and with the intent to permanently deprive the owner. The uses violence or threat of violence to achieve the taking. Burglary does not require violence or the threat of violence, nor does it need to involve taking something belonging to another person. However, the two crimes can be connected if the perpetrator commits a robbery once they break and enter into or remain in a building or structure, thereby committing both a burglary and a robbery with the same set of actions.

What Is the Punishment for Burglary in the First Degree in Georgia?

Burglary in the first degree is a felony crime in Georgia. The criminal sentence for a first conviction of burglary in the first degree is one to 20 years in prison. A second conviction of burglary in the first degree is two to 20 years in prison.

Should I Contact a Lawyer?

The first step you should take after being formally charged with committing burglary in the first degree is to consult with legal representation. Contact a Georgia criminal lawyer immediately for more information about defenses you can use against your charge.