Burglary means a person enters a place, without the owner’s consent, with intent to commit an offence while in that place. For example, if you break into someone’s house in order to steal their TV, then that is a burglary.
Burglary can become more serious if one or more of the circumstances of aggravation are present:
- if you are armed or pretend to be armed with a weapon
- If you are in possession or pretending to be in possession of explosive substance
- If you are with other people who are breaking in with you or helping you
- Causing bodily harm to the owner or occupier while inside
- Threatening to kill or injure the owner or occupier
- Detaining any person inside
- If you know or ought to have known that someone was inside (for example, if the owner or occupier was home during the burglary)
Depending on the circumstances of the burglary, your matter can be heard in either the Magistrates Court or the District Court.
If you are charged with burglary, the Prosecution must prove the following:
- That you entered or were inside the place of another person
- That you did not have the consent of that person to be there
- That you intended on committing an offence OR that you actually did commit an offence while in that place.
Consent to enter or be in the place of another person must be given freely and voluntarily, and cannot be obtained through threats or fraud. This means that if you get consent to enter someone’s house, but you got it by lying to them or tricking them, then you do not have actual consent (e.g. if you pretend to be a technician who has come to fix something, you but just want to get inside to steal something, then you do not have consent).
We can advise you about the charge and what the maximum penalty is, represent you in court, advise you about what defence you may have and about what the potential consequences of being found guilty may be.
Many burglary charges can result in imprisonment, so it is important to speak to a criminal lawyer about your burglary charge, and obtain some advice specific to your case.
The police want to speak to me about a burglary offence. Do I have to speak to them?
Please click here to read about your rights when speaking to and being questioned by police.
I have been charged with burglary with intent. What does this mean?
This means that the police have charged you with entering someone’s property without their consent and that you intended to commit a crime while inside. For example, that you broke in with the intention to steal something.
What if I went inside someone’s property, but did not steal anything?
Burglary does not always involve stealing.
You can still be charged with burglary if you entered someone else’s property without their consent, if you intended on committing a crime whilst inside, of if you committed a crime whilst inside.
For example, it may be alleged that you damaged some items, or assaulted a person, rather than stealing.
What are the penalties for burglary?
The penalties for burglary vary depending on the circumstances of the offending, and whether or not a circumstance of aggravation is present (see list of circumstances of aggravation above).
The maximum sentence can range from 2 years imprisonment and a $24,000 fine in the Magistrates Court, to 20 years imprisonment in the District Court.
If you are convicted of three separate home burglaries, the court must sentence you to a mandatory minimum term of immediate imprisonment of at least 2 years. This sentence cannot be suspended which means you will have no choice but to go to prison.
You should contact your criminal lawyer for the maximum penalty available for your particular charge, and to find out which court your matter will be heard in.
What will happen in court?
Please click here read about what happens in court.
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