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2nd Degree Burglary

According to the Arizona Revised Statutes, a second-degree burglary happens when someone goes into someone else’s property illegally intending to perpetrate a felony or theft.

Regardless of the type of burglary that you committed or the context of the crime, you could face criminal penalties if the prosecutors believe you engaged in a second-degree burglary. If you're accused of burglary in Phoenix, Arizona, you'll need a solid defense. Thankfully, defendants have several alternatives for rebutting a burglary charge. Your attorney could use defense strategies that range from asserting innocence to confessing to the wrongdoing but maintaining that it wasn't burglary. You could defend against the accusations and work towards a satisfactory outcome for your situation with the help of the Phoenix Criminal Attorney.

Legal Definition of 2nd Degree Burglary under Arizona Law

The Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) 13-1507 describes the offense of second-degree burglary. An individual is charged with 2nd-degree burglary when he or she enters or illegally stays in a residential building to perpetrate theft or any offense therein. A breach of this legislation is a Class 3 felony that carries a sentence of roughly 9 years in state prison.

It's worth noting that criminal laws in Arizona categorize burglary offenses into three levels:

Anyone could be charged with second-degree burglary when they illegally enter or remain on a residential structure or property to commit theft or felony. Someone is said to have “entered” a building if he or she infiltrates any forms of the property's or building's outer boundaries, like a gate, door, or window. An individual could go into a building by simply prying open a door with a pry bar. Any structure regardless of whether it is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, occupied or empty, but is tailored for either accommodation or human residence is referred to as residential property.

A 2nd-degree burglary can be classified as either an auto or a commercial burglary. When a defendant tries to enter into an automobile, or any other vehicle, with the intent of perpetrating theft or a felony, this is termed as an auto burglary.

Getting into an unlocked vehicle doesn't constitute an auto burglary; these allegations should be brought against you because you tried to enter into the vehicle. Defendants arrested for auto burglary can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. Commercial burglary, however, is prosecuted when you try to enter inside a commercial structure, such as a grocery store or a business property, to steal or commit a crime.

When it comes to committing a felony or theft that can be charged as second-degree burglary, keep in mind that the felony or theft doesn't need to be completed successfully. To be found guilty under this legislation, offenders must simply have had the intention to commit the offenses. The most significant distinction between 1st and 2nd-degree burglary is the latter necessitates the accused to be in possession of a lethal weapon, a deadly tool, or an explosive. Also, In contrast to robbery, which requires the offender to employ violence or coercion to take someone else's possessions, a burglary typically occurs without the presence of the victims.

Arizona's burglary statute is divided into 3 categories, each with a different degree of seriousness. The felony "class" that the offense belongs to will be determined by the details of the matter.

Class 1 Burglary

To be convicted of this offense, the prosecution must be able to prove to the court beyond a shadow of a doubt that:

  • The offender or a co-conspirator illegally accessed or stayed in either a residential or even a non-residential property, or in a fenced residential or commercial yard
  • While being on the premises, the offender and an accomplice planned to perpetrate any theft or criminal activity
  • The accused or a coconspirator knowingly had explosives, a lethal weapon, firearms, or a harmful device at any point during the moment of entering the premises and the time they left

Class 2 Burglary

 To be convicted of this felony, the prosecutor must prove that the offender:

  • Illicitly went in or stayed at the residential unit
  • Did that with a purpose to steal or perform a criminal act

Class 3 Burglary

To be convicted of this offense, the Prosecutor must definitively prove that the accused:

  • By using trickery, penetrated or stayed illegally at a non-residential facility or a fenced yard, or rather accessed any section of a car
  • He or she did the act with the purpose to steal or commit a criminal act

Elements of a 2nd Degree Burglary

Some elements of a second-degree burglary include:

  • An unlawful entry and break-in
  • Inside a building that is either occupied or not
  • To commit a crime

To prosecute a suspect of burglary, every one of those factors should be proven.

Breaking and Entering

Forcing yourself into and getting into a structure is the initial step in a second-degree burglary. Breaking into a building entails using physical force, such as kicking in through a door or picking locks. It could also be using a very small amount of force, like forcing open an unlocked door.

To satisfy this requirement, the offender must penetrate the structure, regardless of how they break in. A burglary can be committed with very little effort; the burglar does not even have to enter the building. In the case of burglary, sticking one's arm through a structure's window qualifies as an entry enough to sustain the charge. It's also worth noting that accessing the structure must take place without the approval of the property's occupant or owner.

Occupied Structure or Building

Burglary was a statutory law felony that centered on trespasses into someone's private residence. Individuals who break into practically any form of building, as long as it fits specific criteria, are guilty of burglary, according to the definition.

The law typically demands that the building is suited for accommodating people. Houses, as well as their surrounding constructions such as sheds and barns, fall within this category. Storefronts and office spaces are also eligible.

Entering into a fenced-in region, on the other hand, might not be enough, because these areas rarely serve as shelters for individuals, animals, or possessions. Entering into a theme park's premises after hours, for instance, would most certainly not qualify as second-degree burglary, however, entering into a facility within the park would.

At the moment of the break-in, the facility should be closed off to the general public. If someone goes into a store during regular hours and steals something from a shelf, this is considered shoplifting, not burglary. However, if the individual comes when the store is closed, breaks the lock, and goes ahead to steal the same item, it is considered a burglary.

For the sake of second-degree burglary prosecutions, abandoned structures do not normally count as structures. Entering into an unoccupied, unused property could result in additional criminal charges, but it is unlikely that you will be charged with burglary.


The offender should have the conscious intention of committing a crime within the property for it to be considered a burglary. Theft is the most common crime, however other offenses can also turn a break-in into a burglary.

The crime must exist independently for it to be charged as second-degree burglary. For instance, if a person utilizes fraud to acquire after-hours access to a facility to examine a wonderful work of art, there has been no burglary because the only crime committed was fraud employed to gain access to the structure. Stealing the art will turn the crime into a burglary.

Common Defenses for Second Degree Burglary Charges

Getting arrested for second-degree burglary does not ensure a conviction. When you illegally force your way into someone else's property, the prosecutor must definitively prove that you intended to steal or commit a felony. The following are among the most popular defenses employed in burglary cases:

The Miranda Rights were not Properly Dictated

Every person has the right to be informed of their Miranda rights while being arrested. Miranda rights are explained to a suspect by the police. You could choose to speak up and risk having all of your assertions used to your disadvantage during the trial, or you could just stay quiet and let the inquiry proceed.

If the responding officer does not provide these instructions, your defense attorney may be able to throw out all of the proof against you. As any evidence obtained through improper interrogation is inadmissible in a criminal court. However, you'll need an attorney who specializes in burglary cases to demonstrate that your Miranda rights weren't stated. Your attorney will pursue all of the necessary petitions to have all the proof you provided the officers involved suppressed.

Illegal Searches or Seizures

All persons must be shielded against any improper searches or seizures, as per the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Furthermore, the "fruit of the poisonous tree" demonstrates the shortcomings of inspecting a suspect's property or possessions unlawfully. Because of these rules, all law enforcement officers must get a warrant before entering your home.

All evidence gathered in contravention of this legislation is inadmissible in court. The most difficult part is assessing whether the police violated the Fourth Amendment. To prove such serious claims, you need concrete proof like recordings or surveillance videos. A competent burglary attorney's guidance will also be required. Your attorney assists you in determining the applicability of this argument to your situation, as well as adequately representing your opinions and proof in court. You must be certain that the authorities did not have a warrant when searching your possessions.


The legal word for proving that you were in another location at the time of the crime is an alibi. In Phoenix, this is one of the most prevalent burglary defenses. Your defense attorney will need to show that you were not present at the crime scene. He has the option of relying on other people's evidence or obtaining CCTV footage from the scene. An oath must be taken before another person can submit such testimony. If the court is pleased, you will be released based on an alibi’s defense. However, you'll need the help of a skilled attorney, and the best option is to hire a criminal defense attorney in Arizona.

Lacking Intent

A case is classified as a second-degree burglary in Arizona if the prosecutor establishes that the accused intended to enter a property to conduct theft or criminal activity. If you entered a property with no such intent, your action is not considered a burglary. Prosecutors frequently build their case around the notion that you had burglary equipment like crowbars, and it's difficult to refute such proof. Your defense, on the other hand, can use a variety of strategies to refute the aspect of purpose. They may assert that you had been inebriated at the time when you entered the premises. You may hope for your acquittal if you engage an expert attorney to deliver this defense persuasively.

Authorized Entry

You will not have anything to answer when you are authorized to access the premises. However, you should demonstrate that you were permitted to be in the proximity of the crime scene. In actuality, for a second-degree burglary crime, it is usually the most simple defense. In this case, one of the two standard defenses is:

  • Establishing you're the legal owner of that property
  • Demonstrate that the owner of the property welcomed you over and knew perfectly that you had no unlawful intentions

In a second-degree burglary case, they are some of the defense strategies that could help you possibly avoid harsh penalties that come with a guilty verdict. You must be honest with the attorney to assist him or her in identifying any fault in your criminal prosecution, after which he or she should quickly adopt a strategy to pursue your case

Penalties for 2nd Degree Burglary

In Arizona, 2nd-degree burglary is considered a serious felony. The offense is classified as a Class 3 felony. These felony charges carry the following penalties:

  • Jail sentence of up to 8 years and 9 months
  • Fines of $150,000

When certain exacerbating factors are present, the penalty will be increased (for instance, if an accused has past criminal charges). The maximum punishment for a 2nd burglary conviction is fifteen years in jail if it is categorized as a "serious offense."

Related Offenses to Arizona 2nd Degree Burglary

In Arizona, 2nd-degree burglary relates to three offenses:


Theft is defined as taking or carrying away somebody else's private possessions without their permission or legal authority. For instance, if you wrongly assume and take a bag you think belongs to you, you can not be charged with theft since you didn't intend to take somebody else's stuff. However, a breach of this legislation is prosecuted either as a felony or misdemeanor charge, based on the details of the matter.


If someone commits robbery in Arizona, it must be shown that:

  • He or she attempted to take someone's property from their immediate vicinity
  • He or she used violence, the threats of coercion, or a different type of threat, and
  • Did it intending to force the plaintiff to give up the possessions or prevent the plaintiff from protesting

It's worth noting that offenders can be charged with robbery even though they don't use force on the purported victim. Any threat made against any individual while stealing property is enough to get you charged with robbery.

According to Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1904, when someone commits this act with a  dangerous device or a lethal weapon, they'll be prosecuted with armed robbery. Charges of this nature, like burglary offenses, are charged as felony crimes. This falls under class 4 felony charges.


Trespass happens when an individual intentionally gets into or remains illegitimately on a property even after being told to leave. A person could also be charged with trespass when he or she remains at the property with no stated consent from the owner or an infringement of an advertised signage warning of trespassing.

In 2nd-degree burglary cases, trespassing is usually the first factor. If an individual then plans to rob anything or execute a crime while inside a residence, the law enforcement can arrest that individual with:

  • Trespass
  • Burglary

Contact a Theft Crimes Attorney Near Me

You shouldn't give up your rights by admitting guilt to 2nd-degree burglary charges with no proper legal counsel. These are significant allegations with major ramifications. To defend yourself against burglary allegations, you'll need the help of an accomplished criminal defense attorney. At Phoenix Criminal Attorney, we will work with you to reduce the chances of facing such consequences. Our services can be found all across Phoenix, Arizona. Call us today at 602-551-8092, and we'll vigorously pursue a favorable outcome for you.

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