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St. Louis Burglary Defense Lawyer – TPC

St. Louis Burglary Defense Lawyer

A hand prepares to burgle a combination vault in the shape of a house

Although there are only two different categories of Burglary charges in Missouri, Burglary 1st degree and Burglary 2nd degree, the law is complex and confusing. Oftentimes when we meet with our clients, they don’t understand how they are charged with “Burglary” because they didn’t steal anything. The legal distinction to be made here is that the law does not require stealing for a burglary to occur, only to “enter unlawfully” and “for the purpose of committing a crime therein”. So, in the common case of a typical burglary, the burglar broke into the home to steal from inside; fulfilling the two requirements. However, an intent to commit any crime after entering or remaining unlawfully may be considered a burglary.

Burglaries are further broken into two separate degrees. A burglary 2nd degree means that no one was in the home at the time of the unlawful entry and no weapon was involved; if either of those was present it becomes a burglary 1st degree. The difference in punishment can be immense and it is important that you have an experienced criminal lawyer on your side to navigate the uncertain waters of a burglary charge.

Burglary 2nd:

  1. A person commits the offense of burglary in the second degree when he or she knowingly enters unlawfully or knowingly remains unlawfully in a building or inhabitable structure for the purpose of committing a crime therein.
  2. The offense of burglary 2nd is a class D felony. (2 years – 7 years in prison)

Burglary 1st:

  1. A person commits the offense of burglary in the first degree if he or she knowingly enters unlawfully or knowingly remains unlawfully in a building or inhabitable structure for the purpose of committing an offense therein, and when effecting entry or while in the building or inhabitable structure or in immediate flight therefrom, the person or another participant in the offense:
    1. Is armed with explosives or a deadly weapon, or
    2. Causes or threatens immediate physical injury to any person who is not a participant in the crime; or
    3. There is present in the structure another person who is not a participant in the crime.
  2. The offense of burglary in the 1st degree is a class B felony. (5 years – 15 years in prison)


The lawyers at The People’s Counsel are experienced with burglary cases. We have tried numerous burglary cases to Not Guilty verdicts at jury trial. Why does that matter? Well, often times a burglary is a hard case to prove at trial; no one was home, no one saw it, no fingerprints were left, etc. Even if the suspect is caught later on with the property in his possession, that does not prove that he actually entered into the house and took it himself. Therefore, our top lawyers are able to hold prosecutors honest on negotiating fairly for a favorable disposition for our clients. So oftentimes even our guilty clients will receive probation and a chance to keep this serious and embarrassing crime off their criminal records. Certainly, we also look to make fair plea deals without the threat of our distinguished trial reputation; but that’s not always enough, and we are ready to fight on your behalf when the time comes.

Reduced Charges

Burglary charges are serious and they only come in felony form. Unlike other types of charges in Missouri, burglary does not have a misdemeanor charge in its class. Drug cases, assaults, and even sex crimes all have misdemeanor variations built in; but not burglary. Our experienced burglary lawyers know this and will often explore options for a reduced charge; whether that is through negotiations with the prosecutor or by taking it to trial. If you stole a stick of gum but did it by entering unlawfully, you may be charged with a burglary first degree. That is a serious felony with serious prison consequences. The prosecutors can legally make these cases, meaning that at trial they could prove the elements necessary to get you convicted of a serious felony. Our lawyers are seasoned and experienced in making sure that does not happen. Through negotiating reduced charges or by fighting for them at trial, we will fight to have your burglary charges reduced or dismissed.


Burglary charges are very serious. They come with significant possible prison sentences. For this reason, is important not to plead guilty to a charge that the prosecutor cannot prove. It may be true that you or your loved one was found in possession of stolen items without committing a burglary. Unfortunately, overworked and burnt out detectives often prefer to just close their burglary cases by pointing to the last person associated with the stolen property. This is an unspoken trend with law enforcement officers that understand that burglary cases are hard to prove. So rather than leave their burglary files unsolved forever, they just close the case by pinning the entire burglary on the last man holding the stolen goods. Oftentimes the stolen items have changed hands multiple times and the last person to have them gets arrested and forced to fight for his life against a burglary charge he knew nothing about. When this happens, we will not make you plead guilty to a crime you did not commit; our top criminal attorneys are here to fight for you.

burglary case successes

Burglary Tools:

Class D Felony | 1 year – 4 years

RSMo 569.180

Burglary 2nd Degree:

Class C Felony | 1 year – 7 years

RSMo 569.170

Burglary 1st Degree:

Class B Felony | 5 years – 15 years

RSMo 569.160