Second-Degree Burglary

Speak with a trusted Criminal lawyer in Georgia.

Second-degree burglary is a serious offense, resulting in significant fines, lengthy prison sentences, and a permanent criminal record. Contact Philip Kim Law, P.C., to learn more.


Author: Philip Kim, Founder, Philip Kim Law, P.C.

Defense lawyer Philip Kim has committed his career to standing up for the accused, and protecting the rights and reputations of his valued clients. If you face criminal charges in Georgia, we can provide you with the skilled, effective defense representation you need.

Published on May 03, 2023.


Second-Degree Burglary

Burglary is a serious crime that involves unlawfully entering a building or an occupied structure with the intent to commit a crime against another person or property. Burglary charges cannot stand without these elements.

In the United States, burglary can be in the first- or second-degree. While both are felonies, they carry different degrees of severity in terms of punishment.

Get in touch with Philip Kim Law, P.C., if you’ve been accused of burglary in Georgia.


First-Degree Burglary vs. Second-Degree Burglary

While unlawful entry into a building, structure, or vehicle is involved in both offenses, the significant difference between the charges lies in the purpose of the structure. First-degree burglary involves entering or remaining in a house, building, vehicle, railroad car, watercraft, aircraft, or any other structure intended to be a dwelling without permission with the intent to commit an offense. This includes both occupied and unoccupied structures and vehicles.

In contrast, when the property is not a dwelling or residence, the crime is classified as second-degree burglary. Therefore, when you unlawfully enter a commercial building or a storage facility, such as a warehouse, with the intent to steal or commit a felony, it is less severe than first-degree burglary since you aren’t inside the house.

If found guilty of second-degree burglary, the punishment can be a prison sentence ranging from one to eight years. The main difference between the two degrees of burglary is whether the structure is for dwelling.

You can speak with a theft attorney in Gwinnett County for more information about burglary charges and their relation to violent crimes.

Punishments for Burglary

In the United States, burglary is typically a felony, regardless of whether the perpetrator intended to commit a misdemeanor. In most states, burglary convictions carry a minimum prison sentence of one year and a maximum of 20 years.

In Georgia, burglary is a felony, as it is in most US states. A first-degree burglary conviction in Georgia is punishable by a prison sentence of one to twenty years. A second offense carries sentences ranging from two to twenty years. The prison sentence for a third and subsequent offense of first-degree burglary varies from five to twenty-five years.

The punishment if found guilty of second-degree burglary is a prison sentence of not less than one year and not more than five years. Second and subsequent convictions for burglary in the second degree are felonies punishable by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than eight years.

In addition, no suspension, probation, deferral, or withholding of verdict can be applied to fourth and subsequent burglary convictions, regardless of degree.

Due to the high penalties for burglary crimes, it is crucial to have an experienced attorney defend you vigorously.

Smash and Grab Burglaries

In a smash and grab, a barrier is smashed, usually a store window or showcase, valuables are retrieved, and then the burglar makes a quick getaway. As defined by Georgia law, smash-and-grab burglary is the intentional and unauthorized entry of a retail establishment to commit theft, resulting in damage over $500.00 to the establishment without the owner’s consent. Retail establishments are those that sell products from a fixed location for direct consumption by consumers, which includes those that prepare meals for takeout or service inside.

This felony offense carries a minimum sentence of 2 years, and a maximum of 20 years imprisonment, and/or a fine of not more than $100,000.00. A second or subsequent offense is punishable by imprisonment for not less than five nor more than 20 years, by a fine of not more than $100,000.00, or both.


Defenses Against First- and Second-Degree Burglary Charges

As a specific intent crime, burglary requires that both the conduct (breaking into the house) and the result (committing a felony or stealing) be intended by the defendant. As a result, there are defenses available to these charges. Possible defenses include the following:

  • Mistaken identity
  • No witness
  • Consent to enter the premises
  • Lack of intent to steal or commit a felony
  • Alibi

There are also procedural defenses that may be raised in burglary cases, including Miranda rights violations and Fourth Amendment violations.

  • Miranda rights violations are common defenses when law enforcement officers fail to inform defendants that they have the right to remain silent and to have legal representation.
  • People are protected by the Fourth Amendment from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. Before law enforcement officers can search you or your property, they must typically obtain a search warrant from a judge. Nonetheless, the Fourth Amendment does not guarantee protection against all searches and seizures, but only those that are deemed unreasonable.

Ensure that your burglary defense is strong by hiring a skilled theft lawyer to help you build a compelling case.

Why Choose Philip Kim Law, P.C. as Your Second-Degree Burglary Attorney?

Philip Kim Law, P.C., can help you if you have been charged with second-degree burglary in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Our experienced lawyers can provide you with legal advice, answer any questions you may have about the criminal justice system, and help you decide whether to plea bargain, go to trial, or move to have the charges dismissed.

At Philip Kim Law, P.C., everyone deserves a strong defense. With our knowledge of Georgia criminal law, we would be able to provide you with an effective defense and ensure that you are given a fair trial. We understand the stress of facing criminal charges and are here to guide you through the process and fight for your freedom.

Contact us  to plan a consultation and learn how our criminal lawyers in Lawrenceville can help you with your second-degree burglary case.

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Philip Kim Law, P.C.
368 West Pike Street, Suite 203
Lawrenceville, GA 30046
(678) 203-6968
Fax: (678) 273-3501
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