Arizona Burglary Defense

Arizona Burglary Defense

In Arizona, burglary, commonly referred to as, “breaking and entering,” occurs when a person enters or remains unlawfully on a property with the intent to commit theft or a felony therein. 

If you’ve been accused of such a crime, an experienced burglary lawyer in Phoenix or Tucson will know how to build a strong Arizona burglary defense case, no matter the severity of the charge. 

Burglary is classified into these three categories.

  1. Burglary in the first degree occurs when a person possesses a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument (or an explosive) during the burglary.
  2. Burglary in the second degree occurs when a person has merely entered a residential structure without a deadly weapon.
  3. Burglary in the third degree occurs when a person has entered a fenced commercial or residential yard, or has made entry into a motor vehicle by means of manipulation of the key or master key.

Burglary Classifications and Penalties

Burglary charges can range from a Class 6 Felony (least severe) to Class 2 Felony (most severe) and the level of felony is dependent on the facts and circumstances of the allegation.

Class 2 Felony: Burglary in the First Degree (Residential) (A.R.S. 13-1508) 

Committed either 2nd or 3rd degree burglary on or in a residential structure  while you or an accomplice possessed any explosives, deadly weapons, or dangerous instruments.

Penalties for a non-dangerous first offense Class 2 felony include probation with up to 12 months jail, and the following possible prison terms:

Class FelonyMitigatedMinimumPresumptiveMaximumAggravated
23 years4 years5 years10 years12.5 years

Class 3 Felony: Burglary in the Second Degree (A.R.S. 13- 1507)

Entering or remaining unlawfully in or on a residential structure (home, apt. building, etc.) with the intent of committing any theft or felony.

Penalties for a non-dangerous first offense Class 3 felony include probation with up to 12 months jail, and the following possible prison terms:

Class FelonyMitigatedMinimumPresumptiveMaximumAggravated
32 years2.5 years3.5 years7 years8.75 years

Class 3 Felony: Burglary in the First Degree (Commercial or “Non-residential”) (A.R.S. 13-1508)

Committed either 2nd or 3rd degree burglary on a nonresidential structure or fenced area, while you or an accomplice knowingly possessed any explosives, deadly weapons, or dangerous instruments.

Penalties for a non-dangerous first offense Class 3 felony include probation with up to 12 months jail, and the following possible prison terms:

Class FelonyMitigatedMinimumPresumptiveMaximumAggravated
32 years2.5 years3.5 years7 years8.75 years

Class 4 Felony: Third Degree Burglary Arizona (A.R.S. 13- 1506)

  • Entering or remaining unlawfully in a nonresidential structure or fenced yard with the intent to commit any theft or felony, or
  • Gaining entry / breaking into any part of a vehicle with a master key or “manipulation key” with the intent of committing any theft or felony.

Penalties for a non-dangerous first offense Class 4 felony include probation with up to 12 months jail, and the following possible prison terms:

Class FelonyMitigatedMinimumPresumptiveMaximumAggravated
41 year1.5 years2.5 years3 years3.75 years

Possession of Burglary Tools

Class 6 felony: Possession of Burglary Tools (A.R.S. 13- 1505)

  • Possessing any explosive, tool, instrument or other article adapted or commonly used for committing any form of burglary as defined in sections 13-1506, 13-1507 and 13-1508 and intending to use or permit the use of such an item in the commission of a burglary.
  • Buying, selling, transferring, possessing or using a motor vehicle manipulation key or master key.

Penalties for a non-dangerous first offense Class 6 felony include probation with up to 12 months jail, and the following possible prison terms:

Class FelonyMitigatedMinimumPresumptiveMaximumAggravated
6.33 year.5 year2.5 years3 years3.75 years

*Note: The above felony prison terms may increase for repetitive offenses, for having historical prior felony convictions, and under specific aggravating circumstances. It’s important to consult with a Tucson or Phoenix burglary attorney to discuss the specific facts of your case and the possible penalties if convicted at trial.


Possible Defenses for a Burglary Lawyer 

The most common defense to a burglary charge is “lack of Intent.” This type of defense is used by a burglary lawyer in Phoenix or Tucson based on the argument that the defendant did not have the intent to commit a felony while present in the structure or on the premises. 

A criminal lawyer can argue that although the defendant may have been in a place where they did not have permission, they were not there with the intent to commit a felony or engage in any criminal activity. Proving the lack of criminal intent can reduce the charge to a less serious charge of criminal trespass. 

Similarly, a burglary attorney can argue the person was simply mistaken about the location, often the result of being in an unfamiliar location. This defense is known as “Mistake of Fact”.

There are many other possible defenses to a burglary charge that will be dependent on the specific facts of the case. It is important to consult with a burglary lawyer to explore the specific defenses and common defenses involved in defending a burglary charge.

Facing Arizona Burglary Charges? Get a FREE, No Obligation Consultation

At Lerner and Rowe Law Group, our criminal defense team is well-versed in the different degrees of burglary and possible consequences of each. We also have proven experience at defending our clients against these types of charges.   

Contact our Arizona burglary defense lawyers Monday – Friday, 24/7 to schedule your free no obligation consultation. You can reach us by phone at 602-667-7777, LiveChat, or a convenient online form. We offer affordable payment plans and priceless, unbiased legal representation for Arizona felony or burglary charges.