Category Archives: House Burglary

Jackson, Mississippi Criminal Defense Lawyer Explains What Is A Dwelling House Under Mississippi Burglary Law

I’ve previously written about the elements of house burglary and the punishments faced by someone who is arrested for house burglary in Mississippi.  In any house burglary case, whether the building broken into was a “dwelling house” must be considered.  This is important because, under Mississippi law, the penalties for burglary of an occupied dwelling are much tougher than for burglary of other types of buildings.

To qualify as house burglary (also known as burglary of a dwelling house, or burglary of an occupied dwelling), the building broken into must be a dwelling house.  This includes not only the house itself, but “every building joined to, immediately connected with, or being part of the dwelling house.”

Mississippi courts have ruled that the mere fact that the building is a house, does not mean it is a dwelling house under the burglary statute.  The house must actually be “occupied.”  In other words, someone must actually live in the house (although they do not have to be physically present in the house at the time of the burglary).

Examples of houses that will qualify as dwelling houses under Mississippi’s burglary law include houses where the owner is away temporarily, but intends to return, or where they only live in the house on a part-time basis.

An example of what is not a dwelling house under the burglary statute is a newly-built house that has never had anyone living in it.  Another example is a house where the occupant has permanently moved out and has no intention of returning to the property.  Neither of these examples would be dwelling houses under the Mississippi burglary statute.

Another issue that can arise in house burglary cases is where the building burglarized is a structure outside the main house.  For those type of structures to be considered part of the dwelling for house burglary purposes, the structures must be somehow physically connected to the main house.  For example, the Mississippi Supreme Court has ruled that a utility shed which shared a common roof and ceiling with the main house was part of the dwelling under Mississippi burglary law.

Whether or not a building is a dwelling house will depend on the specific facts of each individual case.  You will need an experienced criminal lawyer to thoroughly investigate these facts.

If you have been arrested for burglary, you need an experienced Mississippi criminal defense lawyer working for you.  Please contact our Jackson MS criminal defense law firm for immediate assistance.


Jackson, Mississippi Criminal Defense Lawyer Discusses Home Invasion Burglary

Mississippi burglary law deals harshly with persons accused of home invasion while committing a burglary.

Under Mississippi law, in order to convict a person of home invasion, the State must prove that the person broke and entered the dwelling house of another, with the intent to commit a crime once inside, and that the person did so “under circumstances likely to terrorize any person who is actually occupying the house at the time of the criminal invasion of the premises.”

If convicted of home invasion, the defendant faces a minimum sentence of ten (10) years, and a maximum of twenty-five (25) years in prison.

If you’ve been arrested in Mississippi, you need a tough, smart lawyer to protect your rights.  Please visit our Jackson MS criminal defense website for more information.

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.