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Criminal defense options available for burglary charges

When individuals in Iowa and elsewhere are accused of committing a crime, the first thing the accused is likely to consider is how to get the charges against them dropped. Depending on the type of crime the person is suspected of, there are possible criminal defense options available to defendants. In some cases, this could clear the name of the accused, helping them avoid any penalties; however, this could also mean reducing the charges alleged, helping to reduce the consequences as well.

With regards to burglary, a defendant has various options to counter these allegations. Prior to discussing these defense options, though, the elements of this criminal charge will be explored. There are three elements of a burglary charge. First, there must be an unauthorized breaking and entry. Second, this breaking and entry must be into a building or occupied structure. Third, there must be the intent to commit a crime inside.

In order for an offender to be charged with burglary, all of these elements must be met. Therefore, one way to make a defense is to challenge one of these elements. If a defendant can prove that one of these elements did not exists or a prosecutor fails to prove that one exists, the entire case will fail and the charges will likely be dropped.

The most basic defense against burglary is actual innocence. This means that the defendant attempts to convince the court that the person did not commit the acts in question. And since the prosecution bears the burden to prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, this dense option could generate plausible doubt in the minds of the jury.

Another criminal defense option is an affirmative defense. This consists of the defendant admitting that the person engaged in the behaviors described by the prosecution but argues that this does not amount to a crime. This defense options involves negating one or more of the elements of burglary. Lastly, a defendant could argue that someone entrapped them. The person would need to argue that they were convinced to commit a crime the person was not already predisposed to committing on the person's own.

While these are not all the defense options available to those accused of burglary, the above information described possible criminal defense options available to defendants. Those facing any criminal allegations should take steps to understand the defense options available to them, helping to protect their rights and meet their needs and interests.

Source: Criminal.findlaw.com, "Burglary Defenses," accessed August 15, 2016

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J. Dean Keegan and Thomas D. Farnsworth, Attorneys at Law
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