Chester County Burglary Attorney

Criminal cases in Chester County are handled by the Court of Common Pleas. Burglary is one of the common offenses. Offenders charged with burglary in Pennsylvania are most commonly white males (66%) that are not Hispanic. Offenders are most commonly between the ages of 20 and 29, followed by those between 30 and 39. The chart below shows that relative to the national average, Pennsylvania has a low number of burglary cases. 

Burglary Offenses (2017)

Rate (per 100,000 people)


United States






Understanding Burglary Offenses

Pennsylvania Code defines the offense as one where a person intentionally:

  • Enters a “building or occupied structure” that is designed for overnight occupancy and either tries, threatens to, or commits bodily harm
  • Enters a “building or occupied structure” that is designed for overnight occupancy when there is an occupant present inside
  • Enters a “building or occupied structure” that is not designed for overnight occupancy when there is an occupant present inside
  • Enters a “building or occupied structure” that is not designed for overnight occupancy when there is no occupant present inside

The crime of burglary is generally a first-degree felony offense unless the structure is not designed for overnight occupancy and no occupant is present. In this scenario, the charge is a second-degree felony offense. If the intent of the alleged offender is to obtain a controlled substance, then the crime is always charged as a first-degree offense.

The provisions define the term occupied structure as being a building or vehicle designed for overnight occupancy, or a business, regardless of whether a person is present inside. Burglary is inherently associated with another crime because the reason for entering the premises is intent to commit a crime. The alleged offender may not be charged with multiple offenses unless the other offense is a first or second-degree felony.

Distinction Between Burglary and Criminal Trespassing

The offense of criminal trespass (§ 3503) occurs when someone enters the premises despite knowing that they are prohibited from doing so.  Access to the structure is obtained either through some “subterfuge” or by discreetly remaining within the structure during a time when they are prohibited from being there. The crime is generally a felony of the third-degree; however, when access is gained by use of force (“breaking into”) or by intimidating someone it is elevated to a second-degree offense.

Distinction Between Burglary and Robbery

Robbery (§ 3701) is a different from a burglary in several ways. A robbery always occurs while committing an act of theft. It also always involves a threat of force or violence, infliction of bodily injury, or a demand. A demand commonly occurs when an individual enters a bank or similar institution and communicates with an employee verbally or in writing.

Felony Penalties

A third-degree felony offense is punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine. A second-degree felony is punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $25,000 fine. A first-degree felony is punishable by up to twenty years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Having Seasoned Legal Defense Counsel

Felony offenses such as burglary can lead to years of prison time if convicted. Those who are charged with such a crime should secure the services of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Your attorney may challenge the merits of the charges, the admissibility of evidence, and take other actions to defend you.

Attorney for Defense of Burglary Charges

The LLF Law Firm Criminal Defense team, are experienced defense attorneys in Chester County. They will aggressively defend against the alleged offenses and seek to minimize penalties. For a case consultation, contact the office at (888) 535-3686.

Contact Us Today!

The LLF Law Firm Team has decades of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the LLF Law Firm today! Our Criminal Defense Team will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

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