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It Takes a Thief: Ohio’s Burglary Laws

Judy Grinston is a Columbus grandmother who noticed that items went missing from her house when she went outside to water her plants. Her daughter suggested setting up a nanny-cam. One evening, through an application connecting the camera to her smartphone, Mrs. Grinston’s daughter saw that a neighbor, Bryant Kibby, was inside the house. The police arrived quickly and arrested Kibby for burglary.

Ohio has three burglary charges: burglary, aggravated burglary, and breaking and entering.

The many ways to commit a simple burglary

Ohio law considers four kinds of simple burglary:

  • Someone is actually home and you enter intending to commit a criminal offense.
  • Someone is likely to be home and you enter intending to commit a criminal offense.
  • No one is home or likely to be home and you enter intending to commit a criminal offense.
  • Someone is home or likely to be home and you have no apparent intent to commit a criminal offense.

All of these are felonies of varying degrees, and as Kibby entered the dwelling without a weapon and did not threaten anyone, a charge of simple burglary is a likely result.

Aggravated burglary: when theft and violence are combined

You commit aggravated burglary when both of these factors are present during the crime:

  • By force or deceit, you trespass in an occupied structure intending to commit a criminal offense.
  • You threaten to harm a person or actually harm a person, or you have a weapon on you while committing a burglary.

“Force” is not limited to kicking in the door. In Ohio, opening an unlocked door is using force. “Occupied structure” means any dwelling, including trailers and tents. Aggravated burglary is viewed as a crime of violence, not just a property offense. It is a first-degree felony punishable by a prison term ranging from three to 10 years.

Felony breaking and entering of unoccupied structures

You commit felony breaking and entering if you illegally enter an unoccupied structure with intent to commit theft or trespass on someone’s land with intent to commit a felony.

All these variations of burglary are serious felonies. The experienced Columbus Ohio criminal defense attorneys at Yavitch & Palmer Co., LPA has the resources to defend you and to work for your best interests.

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