Burglary implies that an individual has illegally gained access to a property with the intent of committing a crime there, typically theft. People associate burglary with lock picking and even with somebody hacking a digital security system to avoid detection or interruption by security or law enforcement professionals.
There are certainly high-tech burglars and those who have honed special skills to illegally enter someone’s home and take their property. There are other burglars who may enter a home in a legal manner and then use that access to deprive someone of their personal property. One of the more common ways that people abuse legal access to real property involves open houses for residential real estate.
Open houses have a strong association with property theft
Most real estate professionals will warn their clients to remove particularly valuable items or secure them prior to an open house. Individuals intent on stealing may come to walk through the house as though they want to take a tour when their real intention is to take items of value.
Jewelry, electronics, cash and medication are among the popular items taken during open houses. However, some people would prefer to avoid the risk of getting caught by the agent showing the house or another visitor. They might find a dark corner or a closet and hide until everyone leaves for the day. Then, when the house is empty, they can walk around at their leisure examining and taking items.
Although they technically entered the property when it was legal to do so, thing after that legal access ended does not absolve the individual of the risk of a burglary charge.
Is there an alternate explanation for what seems like a criminal situation?
Homeowners and police officers often assume malevolence when a situation is the results of an honest mistake or an unexpected occurrence. If you find yourself facing burglary charges after entering a property for a real estate open house, the penalties could be quite severe even if no items ended up lost or stolen.
Reviewing the evidence against you and learning a bit more about state law can help you develop a criminal defense strategy when facing burglary charges.