Burglary is defined as unlawful or forcible entry or attempted entry of a residence. This crime usually, but not always, involves theft. The illegal entry may be by force, such as breaking a window or slashing a screen or maybe without force by entering through an unlocked door or an open window.
As long as the person entering has no legal right to be present in the structure a burglary has occurred. Furthermore, the structure need not be the house itself for a burglary to take place; illegal entry of a garage, shed, or any other structure on the premises also constitutes household burglary.
If breaking and entering occur in a hotel or vacation residence, it is still classified as a burglary for the household whose member or members were staying there at the time the entry occurred.
There are four types of burglary:
- Completed burglary – A form of burglary in which a person who has no legal right to be present in the structure successfully gains entry to a residence, by use of force, or without force.
- Forcible entry – A form of completed burglary in which force is used to gain entry to a residence. Some examples include breaking a window or slashing a screen.
- Unlawful entry without force – A form of completed burglary committed by someone having no legal right to be on the premises, even though no force is used.
- Attempted forcible entry – A form of burglary in which force is used in an attempt to gain entry.
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