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Burglary in Oklahoma Criminal Law

Oklahoma divides burglary into First Degree Burglary and Second Degree Burglary and there is a huge difference between the two (2) charges. First Degree Burglary carries a minimum of 7 years in prison and a maximum of 20 years in prison. First Degree Burglary is also an eighty-five (85%) crime. Second (2nd) Degree Burglary on the otherhand only carries from two (2) to seven (7) years and is a non-eighty-five perecent crime. Not only is the sentencing sentencing range for Second (2nd) Degree Burglary substaintially less than the sentencing range for First (1st) Degree Burglary, but the fact that Second (2nd) Degree Burglary is a non-eighty-five percent crime makes a huge difference in the amount of time a defendant faces.

First (1st) Degree Burglary

Oklahoma's First (1st) Degree Burglary statute is found at Title 21 Oklahoma Statute Section 1431 and reads as follows:

Every person who breaks into and enters 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; or

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, is guilty of burglary in the first degree.

Second (2nd) Degree Burglary

Oklahoma's Second (2nd) Degree Burglary statute is found at Title 21 Oklahoma Statute Section 1435 and reads as follows:

Every person who breaks and enters 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 breaks into or forcibly opens, any coin operated or vending machine or device with intent to steal any property therein or to commit any felony, is guilty of burglary in the second degree.

The Difference Between First (1st) Degree and Second (2nd) Degree Burglary

The major difference between First (1st) and Second (2nd) Degree Burglary is that First (1st) Degree Burglary involves breaking into a home or building that is currently occupied. A person could break into the same house twice and if the first time no one was home and the second time someone was home, for the first time they could only be charged with second (2nd) degree burglary and for the second time they could be charged with first (1st) degree burglary.

Second degree burglary can also include breaking into cars, trucks, vending machines, or any structure.

The "Breaking" Requirement for Burglary in Oklahoma

When most people think of burglary they think of someone kicking in a door, breaking a window or picking a lock. But that is not the law. Someone can be charged with burglary if the simple open an unlocked door or open an unlocked window without permission and enter a building with the intent to commit a crime inside.

Second (2nd) Degree Burglary is a Lessor Included Offense of First (1st) Degree Burglary

Because Second Degree Burglary is a lessor included offense of First Degree Burglary it provides an opportunnity to negotiate a reduced sentece with the prosecution. Some times prosecutors don't consider the ramifications of a crime being an eighty-five perecent crime and are just worried about getting a defendant to plead to a term of imprisionment. If a Defendant has to go to prison getting the prosecutor to reduce a crime from First Degree Burglary to Second Degree Burglary can save a Defendant serious prison time.

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