Breaking Down Burglary Under Maryland Law

Rockville, Gaithersburg, Silver Spring & Wheaton, Maryland

BurglaryStealing, theft, pick-pocketing, car-jacking, burglary…when it comes to the law in Rockville Maryland, what’s the difference?

Theft :-

Theft in Maryland refers to all acts of stealing. Including, but not limited to:

  • petty theft
  • shoplifting
  • employee theft
  • dealing in stolen property
  • burglary
  • armed robbery

Burglary, on the other hand, is a specific theft crime spelled out in Maryland law.


Burglary is defined within Title 6 of the Maryland Code. It goes one step further than merely stealing in that the prosecutor has the burden of proving that the defendant was breaking and entering into a structure with the intent to steal.

There are 4 degrees of burglary in Maryland, 3 of them are felonies.

1st Degree: Breaking and entering into someone’s home to steal or commit a violent crime. Up to 20 years in prison.

2nd  Degree: Breaking and entering into someone’s “storehouse” with intent to steal or commit a crime of violence, or an arson. Up to 15 years in prison unless the prosecutor shows the intent to steal, take, or carry away a firearm then there is a possibility of up to 20 years in prison.

3rd Degree: Breaking and entering into someone’s home with the intent to steal or commit any crime (versus a crime of violence like 1st Degree Burglary). Up to 10 years in prison.

4th Degree: Breaking and entering into someone’s “dwelling, storehouse, yard, or garden” with the intent to commit theft. A misdemeanor which carries a penalty of up to 3 years in prison.

In addition to prison time, penalties could result in deportation for a non citizen.

The facts of your case will determine your charge and the penalty you face upon conviction. There are very specific defenses to burglary cases. An experienced Rockville Burglary attorney will be sure to discuss all the possibilities for your case.

Breaking and Entering

Despite the word “breaking” nothing actually needs to be broken to satisfy the “breaking and entering” element of Maryland’s burglary law. The state only must show that the defendant unlawfully entered the structure in question and he or she intended to steal or commit a crime while in this structure.


There is a wide spectrum of penalties for burglary in Rockville, Maryland.  Up to twenty years prison time is a possibility for those convicted of first or second degree felony burglary. Third degree burglary is a felony which carries up to 10 years of prison time. While fourth degree burglary is a misdemeanor with the possibility of only 3 years in prison. However, it is possible to seek alternatives to prison for first time offenders. One alternative is probation before judgment (PBJ). With PBJ a defendant would be on probation for the length of time determined by the court.

Mitigating Factors.

Mitigating factors are things the court may consider that diminishes a person’s guilt. At the Law Office of Leon Geller we will look at all the mitigating factors and the possibilities for getting you the best outcome so you can move forward without serving a long prison sentence. Contact the Law Office of Leon A. Geller or call (301) 309-8001 today for a free and confidential consultation.