Defending Clients Facing Burglary Charges Throughout Arizona
Burglary and robbery are both forms of theft and are both serious offenses in the state of Arizona. There are, however, significant differences between the two crimes. Burglary involves entering or remaining unlawfully on someone else’s property in contemplation or committing a theft or actually committing one. Robbery, on the other hand, involves directly confronting another person in any location and forcing that person through verbal threats or physical power to give his or her property to you.
There are several degrees of severity to each of these crimes, but whichever crime you are arrested for, you need a well-informed, energetic criminal defense attorney to fight your case in court. A conviction for any form of burglary or robbery is a life-altering event that you want to avoid. If you are charged with either crime in Arizona, you should do the wise thing and call on the highly skilled criminal defense attorneys of Blischak Law Firm, our first-rate firm located in Phoenix and serving clients throughout the state.
Degrees of Burglary in Arizona
When referring to legal matters, first degree means the worst offense; second and third degree indicate steps of lessening severity.
Burglary in the Third Degree
Someone who commits burglary in the third degree has entered or unlawfully remained on someone else’s property with the intent of committing a theft or another felony, or has unlawfully gained entry into any part of a vehicle with such intent. Third degree burglary is considered a class 4 felony in Arizona and carries a penalty of 18 months to 3 years in prison.
Burglary in the Second Degree
Second degree burglary is defined as unlawfully entering or remaining in or on a residential structure (e.g. house, apartment building, attached condominium structure) with the intent of committing a theft or other felony. Second degree burglary is a Class 3 felony and carries 2½ to 7 years in prison.
Burglary in the First Degree
Burglary in the first degree is the most serious burglary offense. It is defined as committing either second or third degree burglary with the use of a firearm, explosive, or another deadly weapon. First degree burglary is considered an even more serious offense (a class 2 felony) if it is committed in a residential structure. When this occurs, the defendant is facing a possible sentence of 4 to 10 years of incarceration. If first degree burglary is committed in a non-residential structure, or within a fenced-in area, it is considered a class 3 felony with a penalty of from 2 ½ to 7 years.
No matter whether you have actually taken anything or not, the law recognizes your intention to do so as a serious violation of the law that may pave the way for your being convicted of a felony. Not only do felony convictions typically result in prison sentences, but they also cause you to foreit many civil rights, including:
- The right to vote
- The vote to travel abroad (have a passport)
- The right to own a gun
- The right to serve on a jury
- The right to work in certain occupations
- The right to receive public benefits and housing opportunities
Beyond all these negative consequences, a burglary conviction may interfere with your ability to find housing, borrow money, and even obstruct your parental rights. Obviously, burglary charges are nothing to treat lightly. This is why it is crucial if you have been accused of, or arrested for, burglary in Arizona, that you immediately contact Blischak Law Firm. Our capable criminal defense attorneys will assist you in every way possible to fight the charges and maintain your liberty,your lifestyle, and your reputation.
Robbery or Armed Robbery in Arizona
If you have been arrested on robbery charges, you are being accused of using force, intimidation, or fear in order to take away someone else’s property. Robbery is always a felony and a conviction for any type of robbery brings with the potential of harsh penalties.
You should know that “armed” robbery, while it charges that the defendant had a weapon in his or her possession at the time the crime was committed, does not mean that the defendant was necessarily carrying a firearm. Any object or instrument that can be used to injure another is, in this context, considered a “weapon” — a knife, a heavy lamp, a hockey stick, a broken bottle. A simulated weapon (a realistic toy gun, for example) can also be considered a weapon.
Penalties for Robbery or Armed Robbery in Arizona
Arizona law treats dangerous crimes of this nature with extremely harsh penalties because of the threat of grave danger to the victims. If you are convicted of armed robbery, you will be required to serve a prison term. The greater the threat you have posed, the greater the punishment. If you have actually injured someone, or come close to doing so, there is the possibility that your penalties will be doubled. If you are convicted of armed robbery, you may serve from 1 to 21 years in prison, in addition to being charged fines, fees, restitution and any other amounts the courts considers to have been lost as a result of your crime.
Factors that Make Matters Worse
In addition to carrying a weapon, other factors may exacerbate your legal difficulties. For example, if you have an armed accomplice with you, you will be charged with “aggravated robbery.” If a weapon is used (i.e. a gun is fired) during the commission of the robbery, even if no one is hurt, the crime is considered more serious, since there is a direct threat to private and public safety.
How Blischak Law Firm Will Defend You from Criminal Prosecution and Conviction
There are many ways in which having our seasoned attorneys at your side will help see your legal difficulties through to the best possible conclusion. For one thing, we have over 30 years of successful courtroom experience behind us and know very well what defense strategies will work best in your particular case. For another, our legal background makes us comfortable in a trial setting — we will not become flustered; we will keep you calm and prevent you from saying anything that may interpreted as self-incriminating.
Beyond this, we have the resources to investigate your case fully in terms of examining evidence, interviewing witnesses (if there are any), and making sure that none of your civil rights has been violated during arrest or while you were awaiting your initial hearing. We will ask all the essential questions: Were you read your Miranda rights? Were you mistreated or abused while in custody? Were you targeted for arrest for a discriminatory reason (e.g. race, gender, ethnic identity) identification? Do you have an alibi for the time period in question? Might this be a question of mistaken identity? Does your accuser have a revenge or other motive to target you?
Above all, when you come to Blischak Law Firm, you will realize immediately that you are not alone in your struggle for fair treatment. We are on your side and will always take the position that you are innocent until proven guilty. We realize how frightening it is to feel the weight of the criminal justice system piled against you, and we are here to give you all the legal support you deserve. Get in touch with us promptly to give yourself the best chance of winning your case by calling us or filling in a contact form on our website.