Most people associate burglary with theft, but committing any crime after entering a building without permission can lead to a burglary charge. The laws dealing with burglary are rooted in English common law, and they protect people rather than possessions. In Ohio, an individual commits a burglary when they use either force or stealth to enter an occupied structure with the intent to commit a crime. Any kind of physical effort used to gain entry to an occupied structure is considered force, which means turning a door knob or pushing open a door would be enough to support the illegal entry element of a burglary charge.
The law in Ohio defines an occupied structure as a temporary or permanent building, outbuilding, vehicle or trailer that is a dwelling or provides overnight accommodation, and a structure is considered occupied even if nobody is present. Entering an unlocked residence while nobody is home with the intent to commit theft, arson, vandalism or any other crime would meet the definition of burglary in Ohio.
Burglary charges in Ohio
Burglary is always charged as a felony in Ohio, and the penalties are more severe when buildings are entered without permission when people are present or likely to be present. The harshest penalties are reserved for offenders who enter occupied structures while armed or inflict or threaten to inflict physical harm on anybody other than an accomplice. These offenders may be charged with aggravated burglary in the first degree. In order to secure a burglary conviction in Ohio, prosecutors must prove all of the elements of the crime beyond reasonable doubt.
Burglary laws protect people
An individual commits burglary when they enter a home, outbuilding, vehicle or trailer in order to commit a crime. Burglary is usually associated with theft, but intending to commit or committing any crime while trespassing in an occupied structure after gaining entry by force or stealth is considered burglary. Burglary laws protect people rather than property, and offenders are punished most severely when they use violence, make threats or commit their crimes while armed.