Tennessee’s burglary laws are incredibly strict, and a conviction could lead to severe legal punishment. Building a robust defense for your case should be a top priority if you are facing burglary charges. A Chattanooga burglary lawyer who has considerable knowledge of the laws applicable to these charges and experience defending clients charged with burglary could provide guidance for your criminal case. A theft defense attorney could also examine any potential flaws in the prosecution’s case while employing every available strategy to secure a favorable conclusion in court.
Tennessee law recognizes three categories of burglary charges. The definitions and sentences vary according to each different charge. Basic burglary is defined under Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-14-402. A person can be charged with burglary under this statute if they enter or remain hidden in a building, or do so in a motor vehicle without the owner’s permission and for the purpose of committing a felony, assault, or theft offense.
Burglary of a building (not counting residences or other structures intended for overnight stays), is punishable as a Class D felony. If the burglary involves a motor vehicle, such as a car, the crime is a Class E felony. Class D felonies are prosecuted by a period of incarceration not to exceed 12 years. A perpetrator may also be ordered to pay a $5,000 fine. Class E felonies carry a lesser maximum sentence of six years, and an uppermost fine amount of $3,000.
The other two burglary crimes in Tennessee are aggravated burglary and especially aggravated burglary. Aggravated burglary is defined as burglary involving a habitation which is a residence or other structure where one could spend the night. This crime is a Class C felony in Tennessee, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, plus $10,000 in fines.
Especially aggravated burglary is the charge reserved for the most severe burglary offenses. A person can be charged with especially aggravated burglary if they carry out burglary of any building and someone on the property is severely injured as a result. The crime of especially aggravated burglary is a Class B felony, for which someone may spend up to 30 years behind bars. The judge can also assess fines as high as $25,000. When someone is charged with any burglary offense, they should promptly consult with a Chattanooga attorney who could start working on their case.
A lawyer in Chattanooga could evaluate all elements present in a defendant’s burglary charge to determine the most advisable defense strategy. There are many strong defenses that could be used against a burglary charge, depending on exact scenario involved at the time the alleged offense occurred. Sometimes, a mistake may lead to the wrong person being charged, so that the accused may claim the defense of being innocent. If another party coerced the accused to commit burglary, this could also be a plausible defense.
Another common defense strategy is to show that the accused did not have any plan to carry out theft, assault, or another felony while in the structure, habitation, or motor vehicle. The absence of intent to perpetrate an offense may in some cases mitigate a burglary charge, or even achieve a dismissal. However, the most plausible defense depends on the facts of the case.
A Chattanooga burglary lawyer could help you defend yourself against the crime of which you are accused. As you now know, burglary offenses are punished with extreme severity in the state of Tennessee, and a conviction could easily land you in jail for many years. To ensure strongest possible defense, it is essential to seek the help of a trusted defense attorney. Contact a Chattanooga lawyer for more information about protecting your legal rights.