Burglary in the Third Degree – New York Penal Law 140.20

Burglary in the Third Degree (NY PL 140.20) is the most common degree of Burglary charged throughout New York City and the surrounding region. One is guilty of this crime if one knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a building and one has the intent to commit a crime (any crime) while there. As noted on the front page of the Burglary section, this crime is a “D” felony punishable by up to seven years in state prison.

To better grasp this crime, a good way to look at Burglary in the Third Degree is as follows:

You don’t have permission to be in a particular commercial building (maybe it is marked with “No Trespassing” for example) or you stay beyond the time permitted (maybe you hide out at Macys after they close). The purpose of you entering or remaining was to steal something. Unfortunately, you are caught before you could steal anything successfully. Have you committed this crime? The answer would likely be “yes” because you have met the elements (assuming the prosecution could prove it beyond a reasonable doubt). (1) You went into the building or stayed there without permission (a “trespass”) and (2) you had the intent to commit a crime – any crime. There is no requirement that the crime be completed at the time of your arrest. In basic terms, you can look at a Third Degree Burglary as a trespassing in a building along with an intent to commit any crime.

The above example is very vague and generalized, but should be able to guide you in your discussions with your New York criminal defense lawyer.

It is interesting to note that often times after a person has been arrested for shoplifting, New York Penal Law sections 155.25 and 165.40, the store often revokes the right of the accused from entering again. This is commonly referred to as a “Trespass Notice.” If the accused does so, he or she would be trespassing. Compounding this, however, is if the prosecution can establish that you came back to the store with intent to commit a crime, such as to shoplift, you can be charged with Burglary in the Third Degree.

For further information on the crime of Burglary, please review the New York Criminal Lawyer Blog at newyorkcriminallawyer-blog.com. Information regarding Burglary and other statutes as well as legal decisions and newsworthy cases can be found there.

Crotty Saland PC is a New York criminal defense firm founded by two former Manhattan prosecutors.

Call us at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today to discuss your case and possible defenses.