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Expert criminal lawyers in Melbourne
If you have been charged with burglary or other theft offences, you need to seek the immediate advice of an experienced criminal lawyer. This is especially vital for any offence involving assault charges.
We have experience representing clients for all sorts of theft charges, including burglary and home invasion. With some of the best criminal lawyers in Melbourne, we always aim to give you the best legal advice and outcome for your case.
Need legal advice now? Call 03 8590 8370 to book your free consultation with a burglary lawyer in Melbourne today!
What is burglary?
The Crimes Act 1958 defines burglary as "enter[ing] any building or part of a building as a trespasser with intent—
(a) to steal anything in the building or part in question; or
(b) to commit an offence—
(i) involving an assault to a person in the building or part in question; or
(ii) involving any damage to the building or to property in the building or part in question
This law also applies to an inhabited vehicle and other vessels. This is an indictable offence, or a criminal offence.
With burglary charges, the intent is the main differentiator. For example, the criminal justice system will consider whether you simply intended to steal or you also had the intent to commit assault or cause damage to the building. Trespassing is also a major factor; if you have permission to be in the building at any time (i.e., not just a certain date or time), the offence can be downgraded to the less serious charge of theft.
If you possessed a firearm, imitation firearm, offensive weapon, explosive, or imitation explosive and entered the building while knowing there was someone present, you can be charged with aggravated burglary. Depending on the crime, police may also charge you with other criminal offences such as possessing housebreaking implements and handling stolen goods.
Your criminal defence lawyer will be able to fully explain the charges against you and what this may mean in your situation.
What's the difference between burglary and home invasion?
Burglary and home invasion are two different criminal charges under Victorian legislation. Home invasion involves most of the same elements as aggravated burglary with a few notable differences:
- The building must be a residence
- The accused must have been in the company of at least one other person
If the accused was in the company of two or more people during the home invasion, the charge is upgraded to aggravated home invasion.
What is the maximum sentence for burglary?
If you are found guilty, the maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment for burglary and 25 years imprisonment for aggravated burglary. For home invasion and aggravated home invasion, the maximum penalty is also 25 years.
Other common sentences include Community Corrections Order, Good Behaviour Bonds, fines and criminal convictions.
Where will my case be heard?
If you have been charged with intent to steal, your case will be heard in the Magistrates Court, providing that the value of the property does not exceed $100,000. In this scenario, your case will be heard in either the Supreme or County Courts.
If you have been charged with intent to assault or cause damage, your case will be heard in the County Court and, in some cases, the Supreme Court.
If you are a minor, your case will be heard in the Children's Court.
Do I have a criminal defence?
There are a few defences available to you. These can include:
- You did not enter the building as a trespasser
- You entered the building out of necessity
- You had an honest belief that you had the right to enter the building or to the property in question
- You did not intend to steal, cause damage or commit an assault
- You committed the offence in duress
- Your identity cannot be proven by the police or prosecution
To be found guilty of burglary, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intended to steal, assault or cause property damage. They must also establish that the person did in fact enter the building and trespassed while doing so.
Our criminal lawyers will explore your case with you to identify any and all relevant factors and build a strong defence.
Should I plead guilty or not guilty?
The decision of how you plead is a big one. Some of our clients wish to fight the charges against them, while others wish to negotiate for a lighter sentence and avoid the ordeal of attending court.
As this is a serious offence, you will want to consult with an experienced criminal lawyer to assess all your options and make the best choice. At our law institute, we aim to empower our clients with expert legal advice and help them get the best outcome possible. That's why we ensure that you are fully aware of your legal rights and the likely outcome of your case.
Want to discuss your legal options? Book a free consultation with our criminal defence lawyers.
Contact our burglary lawyer team now
Need a criminal defence lawyer? We can guide you throughout the whole process, from bail applications to the final court date. We aim to give you the best defence possible and ensure your best interests are always at the heart of everything we do.