Burglary crimes in Ohio

Columbus Burglary Defense Lawyers

Aggressive representation for Central Ohio defendants charged with burglary

Burglary charges are very serious life-changing charges. The offense of burglary in Ohio generally involves trespassing in a structure without the authority of the owner. If you are convicted, you will likely be ordered to prison for a lengthy period of time and ordered to pay substantial fines. On release from prison, you will likely find it very difficult to find employment and a place to live. You may lose your right to own a firearm and to vote.

Take control. At Soroka & Associates, LLC, we have a strong record of success in obtaining dismissals and jury acquittals. Our Columbus criminal defense lawyers are skilled at negotiating plea bargains with prosecutors when there are weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and mitigating factors. In a plea bargain, the charges are usually reduced to less serious charges, or there is a recommendation for a less severe criminal sentence than usual.

What is the definition of burglary in Ohio?

Ohio defines burglary as when a person with the use of force, stealth, or deception:

  1. Trespasses in an occupied structure or in a separately secured or separately occupied portion of an occupied structure.
  2. Trespasses in an occupied structure or in a separately secured or separately occupied portion of an occupied structure that is a permanent or temporary habitation of any person.
  3. Trespasses in an occupied structure or in a separately secured or separately occupied portion of an occupied structure, with purpose to commit in the structure or separately secured or separately occupied portion of the structure any criminal offense.

A violation of this definition of burglary is a felony. A violation of definition 1 or 2 is a felony of the second degree. A violation of definition 3 is a felony of the third degree. Burglary also occurs when a person by force, stealth, or deception “trespasses in a permanent or temporary habitation of any person when any person other than an accomplice of the offender is present or likely to be present.”

A violation of this definition is a felony of the fourth degree.

Burglary is a different offense than breaking and entering or criminal trespass. Our lawyers understand the differences.

What is aggravated burglary?

Ohio also has an aggravated burglary law. Charges for aggravated burglary can be filed if a person:

By force, stealth, or deception, shall trespass in an occupied structure or in a separately secured or separately occupied portion of an occupied structure, when another person other than an accomplice of the offender is present, with purpose to commit in the structure or in the separately secured or separately occupied portion of the structure any criminal offense, if any of the following apply:

    • The offender inflicts, or attempts or threatens to inflict physical harm on another or
    • The offender has a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance on or about the offender's person or under the offender's control.

A conviction of aggravated assault is a first-degree felony.

The terms occupied structure, deadly weapon, and dangerous ordnance are defined in other parts of the Ohio statutes.

What defenses do your Columbus defense attorneys assert in burglary cases?

At Soroka & Associates, we assert every possible defense available to help obtain a dismissal, an acquittal, or a fair plea bargain. Common defense strategies in burglary cases include:

  • You’re not guilty. The burden is not on you to prove your innocence. The burden is on the government to prove your guilt. If you were not involved in the offense, or there are logical arguments for why your involvement was not criminal, we assert those defenses for you. We build doubt by showing there are flaws in the prosecution’s cases, in the credibility of the witnesses against you, through other witnesses who testify on your behalf, and your own testimony in appropriate cases.
  • You were entrapped. Law enforcement cannot coerce you to commit a crime that you would not ordinarily have committed.
  • The offense is not a burglary. We often review the statute word by word to argue you did not violate the precise language of the statute. We may argue that the building was not an occupied structure, that you had permission from the owner or an agent of the owner to be on the property, or that you did not have “purpose” to commit any criminal offense. For example, if you entered a friend’s home while he or she wasn’t there to look for your phone or wallet that you left behind when you were legally in the friend’s home – then we will argue that conduct is not a burglary – though it could be another offense such as trespassing or breaking and entering.
  • Your Constitutional rights were violated. The police are required to advise you that you have the right to be silent, and that any evidence you give may be used against you. The police normally need a warrant to search you or your property – and even then no warrant should be granted unless there is probable cause. You should be informed that you have the right to legal counsel. Defendants have the right to a speedy trial and to question the witnesses who testify against them. We file motions to suppress evidence and other appropriate motions if your rights have been violated by the police or by the prosecution.

Another possible defense is that you were entering the structure under duress – that someone forced you to enter the property against your wishes.

If your case does proceed to a jury trial, our Columbus burglary defense lawyers work to:

  • Ensure the jury is as favorable to your arguments and you as the law permits.
  • Show that there is a reasonable doubt that you committed the offense.
  • Show that the testimony of the witnesses against you is not credible or reliable.
  • Assert other defenses depending on what happened.

Do you have a burglary defense lawyer near me?

The Columbus office of Soroka & Associates is located at 503 South Front Street, Suite 205. Our office is conveniently located just blocks away from Rt. 23 and I-71. We also meet defendants in prison and in holding cells. Do not hesitate to call us. We’ll explain your rights – starting with your right to remain silent. You should not discuss your case with the police or the prosecution. We will speak on your behalf.

Talk with an experienced burglary defense lawyer now

Don’t delay. Contact the Columbus burglary defense lawyers at Soroka & Associates today to discuss your rights and your defenses. You can phone us at 614-358-6525 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We will represent you through all stages of the criminal process from the arrest and bail hearings – through suppression motions and preliminary hearings – to plea bargain negotiations and the jury trial. We will assert every defense and every argument possible to help you keep or regain your freedom. We serve clients in Columbus and throughout Central Ohio, including in Licking County, Delaware County, Fairfield County, and beyond.