Burglary is dealt with seriously by the Courts as it is not only considered a dishonesty offence but an invasion of someone’s home. It is more than simply losing items, for example a stolen laptop whilst working from home, there are the long-term effects for the victims i.e. finding it harder to trust people, becoming more afraid to leave the home especially if an offence of this nature is carried out at night. This will undoubtedly add to the seriousness and therefore potential sentence.

Legal definition
The legal definition of burglary is where someone has entered a property as a trespasser with the intention to steal, or inflict grievous bodily harm or cause damage. There are different sentencing implications if the building is a dwelling (a shed or garage is often considered as a non dwelling) and as previously mentioned whether or not it was occupied.

Sentencing
The court will assess all of the facts of the case to determine what the sentence should be. The severity of the crime, damage caused, element of preplanning are all examples of the factors that will be taken into account and in the case of repeat offences, there is a rule that can be imposed in certain circumstances where the minimum custodial sentence is three years.
The categories are:
• Step 1 Defining the level of harm and culpability of the offender (high value theft, harming anyone inside the property, threats or vandalism). A lower degree of culpability would be if the act was unplanned and done on an impulse or if the offender was exploited/coerced.

• Step 2 Considering the facts for e.g. has the offender previously committed an offence (especially while on bail), have they prevented the victim from reporting the crime or if there was a child present when the offence was committed. As with the previous step there may be a reduced sentence if the offender has proven to have a minor role in a group of offenders or suffering from a mental illness.

• Step 3- The court looks at any mitigating factors such as the offender cooperating with the authorities

The sentencing range varies between a lengthy custodial of 6 years down to a community order but the severity of the sentence is determined on the facts of each case. Speak to Lucy Linington to get advice and representation from the police station through to Court.

*Please note we do not accept legal aid instructions.