Burglary is defined under Indiana law as “break[ing] and enter[ing] the building or structure of another person with the intent to commit a felony or theft in it . . . .” Unlike what you may see on television shows, it is very uncommon for some type of forensic evidence to assist the police in identifying the identity of a burglar. The way a burglar is normally caught is by tracing a stolen item to an individual through a pawn shop.
If you or someone you know has been accused of burglary, the most important thing to remember is to not panic. While it is still a crime to be in possession of stolen goods, this is a far different offense than being guilty of burglary. The police will frequently attempt to use a confession or statement from a defendant to prove that they are responsible for the burglary offense. If these statements are obtained illegally and in violation of your Constitutional rights, they cannot be used against you. Other times the police will need to rely on information provided by confidential informants, who often have a motive to lie in exchange for money or lenient treatment from the authorities. This type of evidence is often weak, and it can be difficult for the State to meet its burden of proof if all that they have is the word of a snitch.
We look at every burglary charge to determine whether or not the police can place you at the scene of the burglary, and how they are able to do so. If they can place my clients at the scene because of their own statements, we look at whether my clients were properly advised about their rights prior to questioning. If they can place my clients at the scene because of a confidential informant, we look at the rewards given to the informant in exchange for his information. If they can’t place my clients at the scene, we look at whether there is sufficient information to place my clients on notice that they are in possession of stolen property.
Proactive steps to properly arrange your burglary defense can go a long way towards the goal of avoiding a conviction for this type of crime. If you have been charged with a burglary offense, we will do everything that we can to help you arrange the best defense possible to these charges.