At common law, burglary was defined as breaking and entering into a dwelling at night with the purpose of committing a crime. Most jurisdictions have broadened this definition by lifting the requirement that it must be done at night in order to be considered a burglary. Many jurisdictions have also expanded the definition to include any building not just dwellings, although the penalties may be different if the illegal entry involves a dwelling versus a different type of building.
In the District of Columbia, for example, burglary is divided into two degrees. First degree burglary occurs if a person unlawfully enters into a dwelling with people present, while second degree burglary occurs if a person unlawfully enters into any other type of building or a dwelling without people present.
District of Columbia Burglary Laws at a Glance
Reading the actual language of the law is an important part of conducting legal research, but sometimes deciphering legal text can be a daunting task. For this reason, reading a summary of the laws in plain English can be a way to get a quick answer and better understand what a law says. The following chart provides both links to applicable statutes as well as a summary of the burglary laws in D.C.
District of Columbia Code Division IV. Title 22, Subtitle I. Chapter 8, Section 22-801 (Burglary)
|Defining the Offense
Burglary in the first degree: Entering (with or without breaking) into a dwelling or a room used as a sleeping apartment in any building with intent to break and carry away a fixture or to commit any criminal offense while there are people present.
Burglary in the second degree: Entering (with or without breaking) into an occupied or unoccupied dwelling, apartment, room, bank, store, warehouse, shop, stable, or any other building or any vessel, railroad car or a yard where goods or chattels are kept for the purpose of trade, with intent to break and carry away any part or fixture or to commit any criminal offense.
Burglary in the first degree is punishable by imprisonment for 5 to 30 years.
Burglary in the second degree is punishable by imprisonment for between 2 to 15 years.
Note: In addition to imprisonment, a burglary conviction can result in fines as per the provisions provided in Section 22-3571.01.
District of Columbia Code Division IV. Title 22, Subtitle I. Chapter 33:
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
District of Columbia Burglary Laws: Related Resources
If you'd like more information and resources related to this topic, you can click on the links listed below.
Charged with Burglary in the District of Columbia? Talk to an Attorney
The circumstances of a burglary will affect the penalties that may be imposed if you're convicted. If you're facing burglary charges, it's a good idea to get in touch with a local criminal defense attorney to learn about how the District of Columbia burglary laws apply to your specific situation.