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Burglary in Middlesex County

Burglary in Middlesex

Massachusetts General Laws describe burglary as the act of breaking and entering into a house at night with the intention to commit a felony. This may or may not involve assaulting the rightful occupants. When this crime occurs during the day, it is breaking and entering and does not qualify as burglary. The nighttime element of burglary, although already jettisoned by many other states, is still in force in Massachusetts - and Middlesex County.

Burglary may be armed or unarmed. Armed burglary is the possession of a weapon of force while committing the crime. Unarmed burglary, on the other hand, involves breaking and entering into a property with an intention to commit a crime neither bearing a weapon, nor arming oneself in the house broken and entered into, nor assaulting lawful occupants of the house.

According to statistics by the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) 2019, Middlesex County recorded 1,820 cases of burglary and breaking-and-entering across 50 cities.

In February 2019, Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office announced the arrest of Jargle Soto-Suazo, accused of being responsible for around 19 house burgling incidents across Medford, Brookline, Quincy, and Watertown.

What is the Difference Between a Robbery and Burglary in Middlesex County?

While robbery and burglary are classified as property crimes in Middlesex County, they are defined differently under the law. The three key elements which qualify an offense as burglary are not required for a robbery crime. They are:

  • Entering a residential house without permission to do so
  • Gaining illegal entry at night
  • Entry to commit a felony

Robbery crimes do not necessarily involve breaking into another person’s property or any of the other elements listed above. Robbery is defined under the law as stealing, obtaining by pretense, hiding, and/or converting another person’s property for personal use. Robbery may also be armed or unarmed.

How to Beat a Burglary Charge in Middlesex County

Experienced Criminal Defense lawyers may successfully defend a burglary charge by carefully considering the facts and circumstances of the crime and raising arguments in the accused’s defense that may include,

  • Intent: Intent to commit a felony class crime is a primary element to sustain a burglary charge against a suspect. The defense attorney may be able to argue that the prosecution was unable to show that the defendant had the intent to commit a felony before gaining entry into the property. If successful, the charges may be dismissed or may be whittled down to Criminal Trespass.
  • Mistaken Identity: the defense may argue that the victim could not possibly identify the assailant. This may be hinged on the view that the crime happened under a low lighting condition, and therefore the victim could not have clearly seen the burglar; or that the victim was terrified and psychologically unstable at the time of the crime, hence, incapable of correctly recognizing the assailant. This argument may be further reinforced if the burglar wore a mask at the time of committing the crime.
  • Alibi: The criminal defense lawyer may tender evidence that the accused was in an entirely different location at the time of the incident, and could not have committed the crime.
  • Insufficient Evidence: If the evidence presented by the prosecution is not substantial, the defense may seek to have the case dismissed for lack of convincing evidence that the accused actually committed the crime.

What are the Degrees of Burglary in Middlesex County?

Crimes generally are of varying degrees, such as first degree, second degree, third-degree crimes, etc.

Under Massachusetts Laws, burglary crime is categorized based on whether the crime involved the carrying or use of a dangerous weapon or firearm.

  • Armed burglary under the Massachusetts General Laws is punishable by
    • State imprisonment for life or a term not less than ten years if the assailant bore a dangerous weapon while committing the crime
    • Imprisonment in state prison 15 years to life if the assailant was armed with one or more of a firearm, rifle, machine gun, shotgun, and an assault weapon.
    • 20 years to life imprisonment in state prison for a subsequent commission without a window for sentence suspension or probation.
  • Unarmed burglary may incur
    • Imprisonment in state prison for not more than 20 years, or jail or house of correction sentence not exceeding two and a half years.

Residential Burglary vs Commercial Burglary In Middlesex County

Residential burglary is so described when a crime occurs in a dwelling house or property. Commercial burglary may occur on a property such as a ship, warehouses, or other non-residential property. Breaking and entering committed on property including nonresidential property is punishable under the Massachusetts General Laws and both successful and attempted burglaries are punishable.