Charged With Burglary? Four Defenses Your Lawyer Might Help You Pursue

If you have charged with burglary, one of the very first things you should do is hire a defense lawyer who has specific experience dealing with this crime. Burglary is a serious offense, and in many cases, the prosecution will have a lot of evidence against you. In order to formulate a defense and avoid being charged with a crime, you and your lawyer will have to work hard to find fault with this evidence -- and that is not a job you can do on your own.

In most burglary cases, your lawyer will rely on one of four defense strategies to avoid having the judge or jury find you guilty. Here's a look at burglary offense law and those four defenses.


This is the simplest defense, but it does not apply to many cases. When your defense is that you are innocent, you are arguing that you did not burglarize the home at all. You did not break and enter with the intent to commit a crime. Obviously, if you did not commit burglary and are being wrongly accused, this defense is the most suited.

However, some lawyers also argue innocence even when you did commit the crime. They may argue, in this case, that the prosecution does not have enough evidence to prove that you committed the crime. This does not mean you did not do it -- it just means they don't have enough proof to legally demonstrate that you definitely did do it. Your lawyer will only recommend this route if the evidence against you is very weak and easy to call into question.

Authorized Consent

The first element of burglary is that you have to have entered the property without permission. In some cases, your lawyer may be able to argue that you did, in fact, have permission to be on the property. For example, if you used to live in the home and moved out -- but your former roommates never requested key back -- it could be argued that the fact that you still have a key means you were never specifically revoked the privilege of entering the home.

You may still be found guilty of some crime that you committed inside the home. For example, if you stole something, you may be convicted of petty larsony. However, these charges are usually less severe than those of burglary.


To be convicted of burglary, you need to have entered the home with the intent to commit a crime. If you were intoxicated at the time of the incident, your lawyer might argue that because you were intoxicated, you were not capable of forming the intent required for the crime to constitute burglary. 

Arguing intoxication will usually require that you had a breath or blood alcohol test at the time of arrest. Without this evidence, your lawyer will have a hard time proving your were mentally incapacitated at the time of the incident.


Did someone else put you in a position where you felt that you had to commit burglary? This may count as entrapment. An example of entrapment would be if an acquaintance threatened you with a gun and told you to enter the house. Entrapment can also be less obvious and threatening. For instance, your ex-partner may convince you that if you do not burglarize the home, they will stop caring for your children.

Proving entrapment is difficult, but if you have the evidence to support this defense, it is one that could get your charges dropped completely and the person who entrapped you charged instead.

Discuss these defense strategies with your lawyer. They can examine the evidence you have and the evidence against you to let you know which defense works best in your case.