While there are currently four different burglary statutes ranging from felony first degree to misdemeanor fourth degree, lawmakers felt it was important to incorporate an additional law to punish those defendants who were caught breaking into another person’s house. Section 6-202 of the Maryland Criminal Law Article was their answer, as it includes two separate serious crimes. Subsection C makes it illegal to break into another person’s home with the intent to commit a theft, and a violation of this law could result in a 20-year maximum jail sentence and a conviction for first degree burglary. Lawmakers took it one step further in section D, by labeling the act of breaking into another person’s home with the intent to commit a violent crime as a home invasion. A violation of the home invasion law carries a stiff 25-year maximum penalty, and in many cases it will be charged simultaneously with other offenses such as burglary, assault and theft. While these charges would likely merge after trial, thus preventing a person from being sentenced multiple times for the same act, prosecutors often take advantage of multi count criminal indictments for use as a bargaining chip down the road. For example they may agree to drop most of the charges in exchange for a plea, when in reality the defendant could only legally be sentenced on one or two.
There are a variety of defenses that are specific to burglary cases that are no always ideal in home invasion cases. This is because there is often an eyewitness to a home invasion case, who many times turns out to be the alleged victim. While normal burglary cases are often proved using fingerprints, DNA and video surveillance, home invasion cases typically rest on the ability of the alleged victim to identify the defendant. There are very few home invasion cases where video surveillance is an issue, and there are rarely bystanders that witness the break in. If you or a loved one has been charged with home invasion, it is extremely important to hire a criminal defense lawyer that has experience with these types of cases. Cross-examining the victim of a home invasion can be extremely tricky, but if done correctly could win a trial alone. On the other hand, a poorly prepared cross could be disastrous for the defendant.
Benjamin Herbst has handled dozens of burglary and home invasion cases, and understands what it takes to prevail at trial, and in negotiations with the state. He will analyze every single detail of your case in order to formulate the best possible defense, and he will not hesitate to argue your case in front of a jury. Defendants are too often pressured into taking pleas in these cases due to improper and lazy representation, and bullying from the state. Do not let this happen to you. Hire someone who is willing to fight the state, and challenge the evidence regardless of the work that is required. Benjamin is available 7 days a week to discuss your case, and The Herbst Firm is extremely flexible in working out payment plans so you may secure the representation you deserve.