Many jurisdictions, including Oklahoma, classify crimes according to degree. The higher the number, the less severe the crime, with first degree always being the most serious classification for a crime in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma charges burglary in the first and in the second degree. If you are fighting a charge of second degree burglary, here are some things you should know.
Burglary in Oklahoma
Any burglary charge is serious. All burglaries in Oklahoma are felony convictions. This means that if you are convicted, you will serve prison time. As a result, if you are facing charges, now is a good time to get the expert help that you need.
Basically, burglary is a crime that is based on taking something that doesn’t belong to you either in secret or through covert action. Oklahoma burglary is defined as an illegal breaking and entering into the property of another with the intent to take something not belonging to you, or to commit another felony inside. (See Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1431, 1435.)
Second degree burglary is defined as the breaking and entering into a vehicle or any of the following with the intent to steal or commit a felony inside: building, room, booth, tent, railroad car, trailer, vessel, or other structure such as a coin-operated vending machine. (See Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1435.)
Elements of the Crime
In order to obtain a criminal conviction, the prosecutor bears the burden of proving every element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This standard of proof doesn’t mean 100%, but it also doesn’t mean 50%. One hundred percent (100%) means proof to an absolute certainty.
Rather, beyond a reasonable doubt can be understood as a reasonable person looking at all the evidence could come to no other logical conclusion than that the defendant committed the crime. This is a high burden of proof. Thus, any and all facts that tend to disprove any element of the crime are areas to explore with your attorney when building a strong defense to a criminal charge of second degree burglary.
OUJI-CR 5-13 spells out the elements of second degree burglary, which include vehicle burglary:
- breaking and
- a vehicle, trailer, vessel, building, room, booth, tent, or railroad car
- of another
- in which property is kept; and
- with the intent to steal or commit any felony inside.
In burglary cases, many defenses are built on two issues: the lack of a breaking and entering, and the lack of intent. If either one of these elements is not proven, then there is no conviction.
Under the law, breaking and entering is a term of art and many defenses are based on the lack of proof surrounding these elements.
“Breaking” is basically doing what you need to do to get inside a building. It requires a lack of permission to enter and is an illegal entry. “Breaking” can and often does mean a physical breaking of a window, door, lock, or the like to gain entry, but it can also mean using a key without permission to enter a building.
Having permission mitigates against a finding of breaking and entering.
Intent is the other major element to be addressed in building a defense. The breaking and entering must be done with the intent of stealing something inside or committing another felony.
Entering a building to get out of the cold may rise to the level of misdemeanor breaking and entering but not to the level of second degree burglary.
The maximum penalty for second degree burglary in Oklahoma is seven years in prison.
This is a serious enough crime that you should talk to an experienced criminal attorney as soon as possible. A strong collaboration can build a strong defense.
Free Consultation: Wagoner Criminal Defense Attorney
Get the help you need today. The criminal defense lawyers at Wirth Law Office – Wagoner are ready to help you with a free consultation to discuss how we can handle your second degree burglary charge.
Call 918-485-0335 to schedule your confidential, no-cost consultation. You may also contact us by email using the form at the top of this page.
Either way, if you reach out to our team, we’ll get back to you promptly to answer your legal questions.