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How is burglary defined in New York?

With the popularity of criminal dramas on TV and in movies, when one thinks of theft crimes, one of the first crimes that come to mind is burglary. However, what exactly constitutes the crime of burglary in New York?

In New York, third-degree burglary is defined as the act of knowingly entering or unlawfully remaining in a building with the intention of committing a crime. Unlike popular perception, the building need not be a home -- any building counts. Similarly, there need not be a forcible entry -- just an unlawful one. Finally, the crime intended need not be a theft crime. Any crime will suffice. In New York, third-degree burglary is a felony crime.

That being said, if the building in question is a dwelling or if the accused is armed with a deadly weapon, injures a person, threatens violence or displays what looks like a firearm, the crime is considered second-degree burglary, which is a more serious felony.

Although the above information is for general purposes only and is not legal advice, it is clear that burglary is a serious offense. A conviction could result in incarceration, fines and other penalties. In addition, a conviction could result in a criminal record, making it difficult for an individual to get a job or rent an apartment, among other things.

Therefore, it is important to mount a strong defense strategy against accusations of burglary. For example, if it can be shown that the accused had permission to be on the property and did not intend to commit a crime, a conviction cannot be made. Those who have further questions about the crime of burglary may want to do their research in order to better understand the crime.

Source: Laws of New York, "Penal Code, Article 140 - Burglary And Related Offenses," accessed Nov. 3, 2014

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