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What is a Burglary Charge?

Burglary is defined as unlawfully entering a building or structure with the intent to commit an offence inside. It is treated as a major offence due to the potential threat to personal safety and property.

Man being arrested on a burglary charge

What are the Penalties for a Burglary Charge?

For basic burglary offences, where someone enters the dwelling of another with the intent to commit a crime, the penalty is imprisonment that could range from a few years to a maximum of 14 years.

In cases where the burglary involved aggravating factors, the terms of imprisonment can be substantially higher, potentially extending up to imprisonment for life.

Proof of Burglary

For a conviction of burglary to be secured in Australia, the prosecution must establish several key elements beyond a reasonable doubt. 

Elements the Prosecution Must Prove:

Unlawful Entry: The prosecution must demonstrate that the defendant entered a building or part of a building without consent. This includes any form of entry, whether the whole body or just part of it, such as a hand or tool used to gain access.

Intent to Commit a Crime: It must be shown that at the time of entry, the defendant intended to commit an offence, typically theft, although it could be any crime such as vandalism or assault.

Entry of a Building or Structure: The property entered must qualify as a building or structure as defined by law, which can include houses, commercial establishments, and other enclosed premises.

Legal Standards and Evidence Required:

Direct Evidence: This may include surveillance footage, eyewitness testimony, or forensic evidence such as fingerprints or DNA found at the scene.

Circumstantial Evidence: The prosecution might rely on circumstantial evidence, such as the possession of stolen goods or tools used for breaking and entering, to infer the unlawful entry and intent.

Testimony from Witnesses: Statements from witnesses who saw the defendant enter the building or who can testify to the lack of consent for entry can also be pivotal.

Defences Against Burglary Charges:

To contest a burglary charge successfully, you’ll need to challenge the prosecution’s evidence and present a credible defence with the help of a criminal defence lawyer.

Defences against burglary charges include

Lack of Intent: One of the elements of burglary is the intent to commit a crime once inside the property. If you can prove that there was no intent to commit a crime, this defence can be used against a burglary conviction.

Mistaken Identity: Sometimes in burglary cases, the accused may be misidentified. Establishing an alibi or challenging the reliability of witness identifications can be an effective defence.

Lawful Excuse: If you can demonstrate that you had a lawful reason to enter the property, or that you believed you had permission to enter, this can serve as a defence against burglary charges.

Burglary Defence Lawyers

Contesting a burglary charge is a complex process that requires a thorough understanding of legal strategies and procedures. Having experienced legal representation ensures that your case is presented effectively and that your rights are upheld throughout the process. 

With Rana Lawyers, you can trust to receive experienced counsel who are adept at handling burglary cases, ensuring the best possible outcome for you. We bring a strategic, informed approach to each case, backed by years of experience in handling complex criminal matters. If you or someone you know is facing burglary charges, contact us to ensure that your legal rights are protected and to maximise your chances of a favourable outcome.

Two Criminal Lawyers Discussing A Burglary Case