Oklahoma breaks burglary down into Burglary in the First Degree and Burglary in the Second Degree. Burglary will always be a felony charge. The punishments vary based on the type of burglary.
Different Levels Of Burglary In Oklahoma
Burglary in the First Degree is defined in 21 O.S. § 1431 as breaking into and entering the dwelling house of another, in which there is at the time some human being, with intent to commit some crime therein, either: 1) by forcibly bursting or breaking the wall, or an outer door, window, or shutter of a window of such house or the lock or bolts of such door, or the fastening of such window or shutter; 2) by breaking in any other manner, being armed with a dangerous weapon or being assisted or aided by one or more confederates then actually present; or 3) by unlocking an outer door by means of false keys or by picking the lock thereof, or by lifting a latch or opening a window.
Burglary in the Second Degree is defined in 21 O.S. § 1435 as breaking and entering any building or any part of any building, room, booth, tent, railroad car, automobile, truck, trailer, vessel, or other structure or erection, in which any property is kept, or breaking into or forcibly opening any coin operated or vending machine or device with intent to steal any property therein or to commit any felony.
How Intent Affects Burglary Charges
Intent is a very important element in a burglary charge because burglary is a specific intent crime. There are a couple of things to keep in mind here. First, the individual accused of burglary must have intended to commit a crime inside the structure prior to entering it. Somebody should not be found guilty who broke into a building then subsequently decided to commit a crime. The intent to commit a crime has to be formed prior to the breaking and entering. Being a specific intent crime, the mental state element can be negated through both voluntary and involuntary intoxication defenses.
In order to use the defense of voluntary intoxication, the individual has to be so intoxicated that they could not have formed the required intent to commit a crime prior to breaking and entering. Of course, the same applies to involuntary intoxication. However, voluntary intoxication is not a defense for committing a crime. It can only bring down the charge to a lesser-included offense that does not require a mental state of intent to commit a crime. So, if somebody in Oklahoma is so intoxicated that they could not form the intent to commit a crime prior to entering the building, the person could still be held liable for Breaking and Entering Without Permission, which is covered in 21 O.S. § 1438.
A burglary conviction should not result if the person willfully and intentionally broke into and entered a building without the owner’s or occupant’s permission but without the intent to commit a crime inside. For example, a person breaks into a house just to go to sleep. There is no intent to commit a crime inside, so that person should not be found guilty of burglary. On the other hand, somebody who does have the intent to commit a crime inside yet does not actually commit a crime inside can still be found guilty of burglary.
The facts surrounding the situation are going to dictate what the person’s intent was. For example, if a person broke into a house and actually committed a crime inside, then it appears more likely that the person had the intent to commit a crime before they entered that house. If the person is found with implements of burglary, they are carrying a dangerous weapon, or they approach the victims in a threatening way, then that can also be evidence that they intended to commit a crime prior to entering the building.
Punishment For Burglary
21 O.S. § 1435 defines the punishment for burglary. The punishment range for Burglary in the First Degree is 7–20 years in the Department of Corrections. The punishment range for Burglary in the Second Degree is two–seven years in the Department of Corrections.
For more information on Burglary Offenses In Oklahoma, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (405) 633-3420 today.