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Massachusetts Breaking and Entering Lawyer

If you are charged with Breaking and Entering (B&E) it is important that you reach out to an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorney to help you craft a defense strategy for your case. Breaking and Entering is a serious criminal offense in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is a charge that has the potential consequences of going to jail, facing probation, potential fines and fees and a criminal conviction.  Attorney David Ellison is a Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer, who has handled many breaking and entering cases throughout his career in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in both the District and Superior courts.

What are some of the Penalties for Breaking and Entering in Massachusetts? 

The penalties for breaking and entering depend on whether you intended to commit a felony or intended to commit a misdemeanor. It also depends on the circumstances of the breaking and entering. Here are two common examples:

Breaking and Entering at Night Penalties:

  • up to 2 and a half years in the House of Correction (county jail)
  • up to 20 years in State Prison
  • up to a $25,000 Fine
  • Possible Felony Conviction
  • Possible Probation

Misdemeanor Breaking and Entering Penalties:

  • up to 2 and a half years in the House of Correction (county jail)
  • up to a $200 Fine
  • Possible Misdemeanor Conviction
  • Possible Probation

What are the Elements of Felony Breaking and Entering in Massachusetts?  

In order to prove breaking and entering, the prosecution has to prove you did the following things:

  • That you broke into a building, ship, vessel, or vehicle belonging to another person;
  • That you entered the building, ship, vessel, or vehicle;
  • That you did so with the intent to commit a felony in that building, ship, vessel, or vehicle;

What are Some Defenses for Breaking and Entering in Massachusetts?

There are many different defenses to Massachusetts Breaking and Entering and each case requires a unique defense. However, some common defenses to Breaking and Entering are the following: 

  • It did not happen
  • You had permission to enter
  • You did not have the specific intent required
  • There was no breaking
  • There was no entering

What are Some of the Laws for Breaking and Entering in Massachusetts?

Breaking and Entering at Night comes from Massachusetts General Laws chapter 266 section 16 which states “Whoever, in the night time, breaks and enters a building, ship, vessel or vehicle, with intent to commit a felony, or who attempts to or does break, burn, blow up or otherwise injures or destroys a safe, vault or other depository of money, bonds or other valuables in any building, vehicle or place, with intent to commit a larceny or felony, whether he succeeds or fails in the perpetration of such larceny or felony, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than twenty years or in a jail or house of correction for not more than two and one-half years.”

Breaking and Entering with the Intent to Commit a Misdmeanor comes from Massachusetts General Laws chapter 266 section 16A, which states “Whoever in the nighttime or daytime breaks and enters a building, ship, vessel or vehicle with intent to commit a misdemeanor shall be punished by a fine of not more than two hundred dollars or by imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.”

At common law, one could not burglarize one's own dwelling, but the issue turned on rights of occupancy rather than ownership. Commonwealth v. Ricardo, 26 Mass. App. Ct. 345, 354-357, 526 N.E.2d 1340, 1346-1347 (1988) (charge of armed assault in dwelling).

An unoccupied apartment is a “dwelling house” if the tenants have taken possession and have the right to move in, even if they have not in fact done so. Commonwealth v. Kingsbury, 378 Mass. 751, 755-757, 393 N.E.2d 391, 384-395(1979).

An occupied motel room is a “dwelling.” Commonwealth v. Correia, 17 Mass. App. Ct. 233,234-236, 457 N.E.2d 648, 650-651 (1983).

The complaint need not specify the intended felony. Commonwealth v. Porcher, 26 Mass. App. Ct. 517, 521, 529 N.E.2d 1348, 1351 (1988); Commonwealth v. Wainio, 1 Mass. App. Ct.866, 867, 305 N.E.2d 867, 867 (1974).

If you or a loved one are charged with Breaking and Entering and are in need of a Massachusetts breaking and entering attorney, please contact Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney David Ellison today at 401-230-5520.

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