Mississippi Criminal Defense Attorney Explains House Burglary

In Mississippi, house burglary, also known as burglary of an occupied or inhabited dwelling, is a felony crime. 

In order to be convicted of house burglary, the State must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that:

1.  The defendant broke and entered;

2. The dwelling house of another (or an inner door of the house); and

3. That the defendant had the intent to commit a crime once inside the house.

See Mississippi Code Section 97-17-23.

The definition of “break[ing]” is extremely broad.  The State is not required to prove that the defendant used physical force to “break” into the house.  Even if the door is unlocked, simply turning the knob and opening the door is “breaking” under Mississippi burglary law.  The Mississippi Supreme Court has also held that if the defendant gains entry to a house by using deceit or trickery to get the owner to let him in, then he is guilty of “breaking” into the house.

If the defendant’s intent when he breaks into the house is to commit any crime once inside, then he has violated the burglary statute under Mississippi law.  Most frequently, the defendant is accused of breaking and entering with the intent to steal items from within the house (grand larceny).  However, if the defendant’s intent was to commit another crime–such as assaulting the homeowner–this would also violate the burglary statute, even though he had no intent to steal anything.

A burglary conviction carries a sentence of 3 years (minimum) to 25 years (maximum), in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

If you have been arrested for burglary in Mississippi, we can help.  Please contact us at 601-944-1984 to discuss your case at no charge.


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