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Property Crimes

In Oklahoma, there is a wide variety of property crimes—some of which are felonies, and some misdemeanors. The most common property offenses we see come from the Larceny and Burglary statutes. It is important to understand the nuances of the differing levels of property offenses both to fight the case properly at preliminary hearing, and to effectively negotiate for lesser charges should our client make the decision to enter into a plea deal. Below, we will list a few of the property crime offenses and go over the elements that comprise each charge. If you or a family member is charged with a property crime in Oklahoma, call us at 918-640-4332 to set up a free consultation. During our meeting with you we will analyze the facts and charges of your case and strategize how to best proceed. Our office is located in Oklahoma City and our attorneys handle cases all over Oklahoma including Oklahoma County, Cleveland County, Canadian County, McClain County, Garvin County and many others.

Burglary in the First Degree

The most serious of all the property charges is of course Burglary in the First Degree. This is a felony that is considered violent in the Oklahoma statutes, and if convicted and sentenced to prison, a person serves a full 85% of their sentence before even becoming eligible for release. The statute for Burglary in the First Degree is found in Title 21, Section 1431 of the Oklahoma Statutes. A person can be found guilty of this charge only if (1) he or she forcibly breaks into a dwelling, (2) in which another person is present, and (3) he or she has the intent to commit a crime therein. Oftentimes, clients are confused by this charge because they assume Burglary in the First Degree requires a person breaking into a home and stealing something—which certainly would apply, but it’s not the only way to be charged. Because the third element is met by simply having the “intent to commit some crime” inside the dwelling, any number of crimes will satisfy this element. Think for instance of a person breaking into an ex girlfriend’s home (to which they no longer have permission to be at) for the purpose of breaking a television. In this example, the individual had no intention of stealing the television, but could still face Burglary in the First Degree charges. Again, Burglary in the First Degree only requires a crime to have been intended to be committed—and that crime need not revolve around theft or property at all, if a person were to break into a home with the intent of punching another person that resided inside—this too could lead to Burglary in the First Degree charges.

Burglary in the Second Degree

The Second Degree Burglary statute, found in Title 21, Section 1435 of the Oklahoma statutes states a person is guilty if he or she (1) breaks and enters a dwelling house, or building,  (2) in which a person is NOT present, (3) with the intent to commit a crime therein. The only functional difference between Burglary in the First and Second Degree is whether or not a person is inside the structure being broken into. Notice though, that whether or not the person being charged with the crime knows that there’s another person inside the dwelling they’re breaking into does not matter. Meaning, the person charged may have intended to break into an abandoned building or empty house to commit a crime of stealing—but if much to their surprise there is in fact a person inside the dwelling, they have now committed Burglary in the First Degree—albeit unintentionally.

Burglary in the Third Degree

Lastly, Burglary in the Third Degree is found in the same statute as Burglary in the Second Degree, and lists that for a person to be found guilty, he or she must (1) break and enter into a vehicle, (2) with intent to steal or commit any felony inside. Interestingly, none of the burglary charges requires that the person charged actually commit a crime while inside the building/home/vehicle—only that the person have such intent. Because of this, one common defense to burglary is that an individual may have in fact broken into the dwelling/house/vehicle—but without a criminal intent. Proving the state of mind (intent to commit a crime) is one of the most difficult jobs a prosecutor has—imagine proving what is inside of someone else’s mind. Of course, if the individual actually did commit a crime inside (think took a television and is later found with it) that is circumstantial evidence that would be used to prove intent to commit a crime.

Oklahoma Larceny Statute

Found in Title 21, Section 68, the larceny statute has many varieties. This statute includes everything from Grand Larceny, Larceny of Dogs, Theft of Airplanes to a statute specifically designated for stealing oil. While you can read through all of the various specific larceny statutes, by far the most commonly used is Grand and Petit Larceny. Grand Larceny is applicable when the value stolen is greater than $1,000, while Petit Larceny is anything up to $999. Petit Larceny is a misdemeanor, and therefore a person cannot serve more than one year in the county jail for the offense. Grand Larceny is a felony and the punishment ranges are based on the value stolen with brackets of $1,000-$2,500 carrying two years imprisonment, $2,500-$15,000 carrying up to five years imprisonment and greater than $15,000 carrying up to eight years imprisonment for first time offenders.

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