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Indiana Burglary Laws

Cat burglars. Jewelry heists. The Pink Panther. All three images have one thing in common: burglary. While we’ve all seen depictions of burglars in all black attire, prowling through the night, and breaking into homes, what does the crime of burglary really involve? Indiana burglary laws set out a clear guideline for how this crime is committed. Keep in mind, on July 1, 2014 Indiana lawmakers changed the penalty structure for burglary as set forth in the table below.

Elements of Burglary in Indiana

Essentially, burglary involves breaking and entering into a building or structure belonging to someone else, with the intent to commit any felony or theft inside. The key to this crime is your mental state, also known as mens rea. For example, a person getting caught inside someone’s home without the owner’s permission can be said to have the “mens rea” for the crime of burglary if the circumstances surrounding the crime indicate he was intending to steal something inside the house.

For example, if he broke the back window to get inside the home, opened the cabinets, and was found with the victim’s jewelry in his pocket, that would typically be considered good evidence of his mental state. Clearly, he wasn’t in the house to merely admire the owner’s fine jewelry collection – especially without the owner’s permission.

Indiana Burglary Laws Overview

The charges and penalties under Indiana’s burglary laws are detailed below in the following chart. Remember, there are several defenses to the crime of burglary, whether commercial or residential.


Enhanced Penalties

Burglary carries a higher sentence if committed during any of the following:

  • Suspect is armed with a deadly weapon
  • The building is a dwelling or home, or
  • The crime of burglary results in bodily injury or serious bodily injury to another person, not the suspect.


  • Basic Commercial Burglary: Level 5 felony punishable by one to six years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
  • Residential Burglary: Level 4 felony punishable by 2 to 12 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Burglary Resulting in Physical Injury to Another: Level 3 felony punishable by 3 to 16 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Burglary While Armed with Deadly Weapon or Results in Serious Physical Injury to Another: Level 2 felony punishable by 10 to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Residential Burglary Resulting in Serious Physical Injury to Another: Level 1 felony punishable by 20 to 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Note: If the offense was alleged to have been committed before the new burglary statute went into effect on July 1, 2014, there is a different sentencing scheme and you should consult with a criminal defense attorney to learn more.

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.

Additional Resources

If you have additional questions about the burglary and other criminal laws in Indiana, click on the following links below:

Charged with Burglary in Indiana? Contact an Attorney

If you’ve been accused of breaking and entering into a home or business in Indiana, you likely have several questions about possible defenses, how the new sentencing laws will impact your case, and if there is a possibility for a plea bargain. You can get all these questions answered and more by consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Indiana today.

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