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3rd Degree Burglary

Arizona law ARS 13-1506 outlines the crime of third-degree burglary. You may face third-degree robbery charges if you enter or remain in the non-residential property, residential yard, or a fenced commercial structure with the intent of committing theft or felony. The violation of ARS 13-1506 is a felony crime, punishable by imprisonment of up to four years. Phoenix Criminal Attorney can help you fight third-degree burglary charges in Phoenix, AZ.

Burglary Law In Arizona

The Arizona burglary divides burglary into three degrees:

  • First-degree burglary under ARS 13-1508
  • Second-degree burglary under ARS 13-1507
  • Third-degree burglary under ARS 13-1506

Third-Degree Burglary

You will face third-degree burglary charges if you enter or remain in a non-residential structure or a fenced yard to commit theft or a felony offense. Under this statute, a structure includes trucks, cars, and other motor vehicles.

You could also face third-degree burglary if you enter a vehicle using a master key or a manipulation key. The prosecutor must prove that you entered the car with the intent to commit theft or felony to charge you with this crime. A manipulation key refers to a key, a device, or any other instrument other than a key used to operate a lock. Any device that can be manipulated or variably positioned in a vehicle keyway qualifies as a manipulation key.

Some of the common examples of third-degree burglary include breaking into a commercial structure with the intent of stealing something. You could also face third-degree burglary charges if you go into your neighbor’s yard intending to harass them. If you break into or enter a vehicle planning to take something from the glove box, you could face third-degree burglary charges.

Third Degree Burglary Vs. First Degree Burglary

You can be guilty of first-degree burglary under Arizona law if you commit a second-degree or third-degree burglary while knowingly possessing a deadly weapon, explosive, or a dangerous instrument. According to the law, you possess something if:

  • You physically carry or hold something
  • You have control or dominion over an object. For example, if you have a gun in your vehicle’s trunk, you have control over the gun.

Under Arizona law, a dangerous instrument refers to any item capable of inflicting significant bodily injury or causing death depending on how it is used or attempted to be used. First-degree burglary is a severe crime under Arizona law. You will face class 2 felony charges if you commit second-degree robbery using a deadly weapon, explosive, or a dangerous instrument. You will face class 3 felony charges if you commit third-degree burglary using a deadly weapon, an explosive, or a dangerous instrument.

If charged as a Class 2 felony, first-degree burglary is punishable by imprisonment of up to twelve years and six months in state prison. If punished as a Class 3 felony, first-degree burglary is punishable by imprisonment of up to eight years and nine months in state prison.

The prison term could be more severe if aggravating factors are present in your case. A common aggravating factor is if you have prior felony convictions on your record.

Third-degree Burglary Vs. Second-degree Burglary

You could face second-degree burglary charges if you enter and remain on a residential structure, as opposed to a non-residential or commercial structure, with the intent of committing theft or a felony once inside the structure. Under Arizona law, entering means penetrating the outer boundaries of whatever form of structure. Outer boundaries of a structure could include a wall, a door, or a window. You could be guilty of entering a structure by merely inserting a pry bar into a door jamb.

A residential structure is any permanent or temporary structure, movable or immovable, adapted for lodging or human residence. It doesn't matter whether the structure is occupied or not. Under Arizona law, second-degree burglary is a Class 3 felony. A Class 3 felony is punishable by imprisonment of up to eight years and nine months in state prison. If a second-degree burglary qualifies as a dangerous offense, a maximum penalty of 15 years in a state prison may apply.

The Penalties Of A Third Degree Burglary

If you violate ARS 13-1506, you will face Class 4 felony charges. The maximum penalty for a first-time violation of ARS 13-1506 includes imprisonment of three years and nine months in state prison. You will face a longer sentence if you have prior burglary convictions. In addition, you will face a maximum penalty of up to eight years in state prison if the third-degree burglary is classified as a dangerous offense.

Dangerous Offense

Arizona criminal law ARS-13-704 defines a dangerous offense as one that:

  • Involves the use, discharge, or threatening the exhibition of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument
  • Knowingly or intentionally causing or inflicting a severe bodily injury or another person

If a third-degree burglary meets the two requirements outlined above, it will be treated as a dangerous offense. As a result, the defendant will be subject to more extended imprisonment of up to eight years in state prison.

If an offense is not inherently dangerous, the prosecutor has the burden of proving its dangerousness to the jury. The prosecutor must prove the dangerousness of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Some crimes like first-degree or second-degree murder are inherently dangerous. Provided a crime is inherently dangerous, it will come with an enhanced prison sentence. A crime like third-degree burglary is not inherently dangerous; therefore, the prosecutor must prove its dangerousness for the sentence enhancement to apply.

Class 2, 3, Or 4 Burglary

Criminal offenses are divided into three categories under Arizona law:

  • Felony crimes that often carry imprisonment of more than one year in a state prison
  • Misdemeanor offenses that carry a prison term of less than one year
  • Petty crimes that are not punishable by jail time

Felony crimes are more severe than misdemeanor crimes, while misdemeanor crimes are more severe than petty crimes. Under Arizona law, all burglary offenses are felonies. A burglary crime can lead to:

  • Class 2 felony
  • Class 3 felony
  • Class 4 felony

Class 2 felonies are the second most severe types of criminal offenses under Arizona law. The typical Class 2 felony offense sentence includes imprisonment of up to twelve years and six months in state prison. However, the sentence could extend to 35 years, depending on several circumstances. Class 2 felonies could also attract a fine of up to $150,000. The prison sentence imposed for a class 2 felony will vary depending on:

  • Whether the crime was a dangerous offense or a crime committed against a child
  • If the defendant has a previous conviction on his or her criminal record
  • If the offense is repetitive, a defendant is likely to face more severe charges if they have committed a prior burglary offense.

A Class 3 felony is the third most severe felony offense under Arizona law. A conviction of a Class 3 felony comes with imprisonment ranging between two years and eight years and nine months in state prison. A Class 3 felony can be a dangerous or a non-dangerous offense. An offense is a dangerous offense if using or discharging a weapon or a dangerous instrument when committing the crime. A crime is also dangerous if you inflict significant bodily injury on the victim while committing the crime. If you commit a Class 3 crime on a person below 15 years, the law treats the crime as a dangerous crime against a child.

A Class 4 felony crime under Arizona law is punishable by imprisonment of one year and three years, nine months in state prison. However, the prison sentence could increase to up to sixteen years if aggravating factors are present. If you commit a class 4 felony against a person below 15 years, the crime is dangerous. Dangerous crimes against children come with their own set of sentencing.

Third-degree burglary is a Class 4 felony because it is not a dangerous crime.

The Common Aggravating And Mitigating Factors For Felony Crimes Under Arizona Law

The specific penalty you face for committing a third-degree burglary will vary depending on the presence of aggravating or mitigating factors. Aggravating factors refer to factors that could enhance your sentence, while mitigating factors refer to factors that could reduce your sentence. Arizona law lays out several mitigating factors, which include:

  • Using a mask while committing an offense to avoid detection
  • Lying in wait for a victim
  • Impersonating a police officer while committing a crime
  • Using an accomplice to commit an offense
  • If the crime victim is a person with a disability or a person above 65 years

The potential mitigating factors in a criminal case include:

  • Unusual duress
  • The defendant’s age
  • The defendant's background or character; the defendant is likely to face fewer charges if they do not have a criminal history
  • If the defendant lacks the capacity to appreciate their wrongful acts fully

Typical Legal Defenses To Fight Charges Under ARS 13-1506

With the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, you can challenge third-degree burglary charges and the prosecutor’s evidence against you. You can use the following legal defenses to fight third-degree burglary charges:

You Had No Intent To Commit An Offense

You are only guilty of third-degree burglary if you enter a property or a structure with the intent to commit a felony or steal something. You can fight burglary charges by proving that even if you entered a structure or a yard, you did not have the aim or purpose to steal. For example, you can state that you entered another person’s structure because you were lost.

You Had A Legal Right To Be In The Property

You can only face third-degree burglary charges if you unlawfully enter and remain on a property. You can fight the charges by proving that you did not unlawfully enter or stay on the property. With the help of your criminal defense attorney, you can prove that you had a legal right to be on the said property.

You Are A Victim Of Mistaken Identity

At times, people commit burglary while wearing some type of disguise like a mask. Therefore, an accuser may not get a good glimpse of the suspect. For example, you could be accused of third-degree burglary, yet you did not commit the crime. With the help of your attorney, you can prove that you were unjustly blamed for a crime you did not commit.

Related Crimes

Several crimes are related to third-degree burglary under California law. The prosecutor may charge you with the related crimes alongside burglary or instead of burglary. The related charges are:

Theft — ARS 13-1802

The Arizona law ARS 13-1802 outlines the crime of theft. You may commit a theft crime if you intentionally take or use another person’s property or services without the person’s permission to do so. According to Arizona law, you can commit a theft crime in several ways:

  • If you control another person's property intending to deprive the person of the property
  • You obtain property or services by means of material misrepresentation to deprive the victim of the property or the services.
  • You control another person’s property despite knowing or having a reason to know that the said property is stolen.

You could also face theft charges if you intentionally take control, use, title, or manage a vulnerable person's property while acting in a position of confidence or trust. The prosecutor must prove that you did this with the intent to deprive the said person of the property.

You do not need to have intended to permanently deprive a person of their property for you to face theft charges. You could face theft charges provided you intended to deprive the victim of the property for whatever time, even if it was for a short time.

You can use the following defenses to fight theft charges:

  • You did not commit the theft intentionally
  • You borrowed the property, and you intended to return it
  • You are the actual property owner

Robbery — ARS 13-1902

The Arizona law ARS 13-1902 outlines the crime of robbery. You could face robbery charges if you use force or threats in the course of stealing property from someone else. The violation of this law is a Class 4 felony under Arizona law. The prosecutor must prove the following:

  • You took property from someone’s immediate presence
  • While committing the crime, you engaged in the use of force or threat
  • You did so with the intent of preventing the victim from resisting or for the purpose of making the victim surrender the property to you.

You could face robbery charges even if your use of force while committing the crime was not directed towards the alleged victim. Robbery charges will apply provided you used force or threats against any person while committing the crime. According to the law, force is any physical or verbal menace of imminent bodily injury on a victim.

The law classifies robbery as both a dangerous and a serious offense. A first-time robbery offense is punishable by a prison time ranging between one and three years. If the defendant has a previous conviction, an additional conviction will lead to steeper penalties.

When the prosecutor accuses you of robbery, you can use the following defenses to fight your charges:

  • You did not use force or threats while committing the crime
  • You had a reasonable belief that you had a right to the property
  • You are a victim of mistaken identity

Trespass — ARS 13-1504

The California law ARS 13-1504 defines the crime of criminal trespassing. You may face charges for this offense if you intentionally enter another person’s property without their permission. You could also face criminal trespassing charges if you remain on a particular property without permission. The law divides criminal trespassing into three main categories:

  • Criminal trespassing in the first-degree
  • Criminal trespassing in the second-degree
  • Criminal trespassing in the third-degree

Arizona law classifies criminal trespassing as a severe crime. The penalties for the crime will vary depending on how the prosecutor charges the offense:

  • You could face imprisonment of up to four years in state prison if the prosecutor charges the offense as a Class 5 felony
  • Imprisonment of up to one year and six months if the prosecutor charges the offense as a Class 6 felony
  • A jail time of six months if the prosecutor charges the offense as a Class 1 misdemeanor

Depending on the facts of your case, the judge may impose probation instead of imprisonment. If the prosecutor charges you with criminal trespassing, you could fight the charges using the following legal defenses:

  • You did not act knowingly or on purpose
  • You had permission to be on the said property
  • You did not remain on the said property

Find A Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me

Third-degree burglary is a severe offense under Arizona law, punishable by imprisonment in state prison and fines. It is advisable to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately after learning that you are under investigation for third-degree burglary. Phoenix Criminal Attorney provides reliable legal defense services in Phoenix, Arizona. Our experienced attorneys will evaluate your case and help you create a solid defense. Contact us at 602-551-8092 and speak to one of our attorneys.

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