criminal law attorneyIn Georgia, there are three elements that must be proved in order to establish the offense of burglary: 1) a person enters or remains within a protected dwelling or structure 2) without authority 3) and with the intent to commit a felony or theft inside. The first element, entry into a protected dwelling or structure, can be proved with evidence such as fingerprints or possession of stolen goods. Burglary can take place in virtually any structure so long as it is used either as a dwelling or is a protected structure of some kind. Examples include (but are not limited to) homes, storage facilities, garden centers, business premises, service stations, watercraft, railroad cars. The third element, intent to commit a felony or theft inside, is a question determined by the jury. It is not necessary to enter with a felonious intent if such intent was formed after entering the dwelling or structure and the alleged burglar remains there. For example, if an individual breaks into a building to avoid a deadly storm, they have entered without authority, meeting the first two elements. While in the store, the individual decides to take a computer when the storm is over. At this point, the entry has become a burglary, even if the perpetrator did not initially intend to steal. Someone charged with burglary can argue a defense if he can show that one or more of the three elements cited above is lacking. Punishment for burglary under Georgia law is as follows: 1 to 20 years for the first offense; 2 to 20 years for the second offense; and 5 to 20 years for the third offense.

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