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Virginia Burglary Laws

In the Code of Virginia, burglary is covered under Title 18.2, Chapter 5, Section 18.2-89 through 18.2-94. Virginia considers burglary to be a felony, with harsher penalties administered when the perpetrator is armed with a deadly weapon. Virginia also has a very specific definition of burglary, but compensates by grouping a number of similar crimes under “statutory burglary.” Section 18.2-90; 18.2-91. For any of the crimes listed below, if the perpetrator is or was armed while committing the crime, then the individual is automatically guilty of a Class 2 felony.

Burglary Generally (Section 18.2-89)

If an individual (1) breaks and enters the home of a person (2) at night (3) with the intent to steal things or commit a felony, then the individual is guilty of burglary. Section 18.2-89. Burglary carries the penalties of a Class 3 felony, unless the individual had a deadly weapon when breaking into the home- in which case the individual faces the penalties of a Class 2 felony. Section 18.2-89.

If the individual was not armed during the burglary then, as a Class 3 felony, the individual faces a felony conviction with five to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Section 18.2-10(c). In some cases, the court may choose not to penalize the individual with the fine. Section 18.2-10(g).

If the individual was armed with a deadly weapon during the burglary then, as a Class 2 felony, the individual faces a penalty conviction with 20 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Section 18.2-10(b). Just as with Class 3 felonies, the court may choose not to fine the individual. Section 18.2-10(g).

Statutory Burglary Section 18.2-90; 18.2-91

There are three ways to commit statutory burglary, distinguished by the circumstances surrounding the burglary-like activity and by which crimes the perpetrator intended to commit.

Statutory burglary applies if any individual, regarding a home or any structure where people are living, (a) enters without breaking at night, (b) breaks and enters during the day, (c) enters and conceals him- or herself in a home or adjoining structure, or (d) enters with or without breaking and conceals him- or herself in any structure used as a home, with either:

  • Intent to murder, rape, violently rob, or commit arson, or;
  • Intent to steal anything or engage in any felony other than murder, rape, robbery, or arson, or;
  • Intent to commit assault and battery.

If an individual’s actions fall under any of (a) to (d) described above and the individual’s intent was murder, rape, robbery, or arson, then the individual is guilty of statutory burglary as a Class 3 felony. Section 18.2-90. The individual would then face a felony conviction with five to 20 years in prison and possibly a fine of up to $100,000. Section 18.2-10(c).

If an individual’s actions fall under any of (a) to (d) described above and the individual’s intent was to steal anything (larceny) or commit any other felony, then the individual is guilty of statutory burglary with a prescribed penalty of one to 20 years in prison OR, with jury/court discretion, a lessened penalty of up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Section 18.2-91.

If an individual’s actions fall under any of (a) to (d) described above, or breaking and entering at night, and the individual’s intent is to commit assault and battery, then the individual is guilty of statutory burglary with a prescribe penalty of one to 20 years in prison OR, with jury/court discretion, a lessened penalty of up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up $2,500. Section 18.2-91.

If an individual is guilty of statutory burglary and the individual was armed with a deadly weapon during the crime, then the individual is guilty of a Class 2 felony. Section 18.2-90; 18.2-91. The individual would then face 20 years to life in prison and possibly a fine of up to $100,000. Section 18.2-10(b).

Burglarious Tools (Section 18.2-94)

If an individual (1) possesses any tools or outfit (2) with the intent to commit burglary, robbery, or larceny (stealing things) then the individual is guilty of possessing burglarious tools — a Class 5 felony. Section 18.2-94. Examples of burglarious tools, generally, include but are not limited to crowbars, wrenches, gloves, screwdrivers, battering rams, and even chisels. This is a tricky law to enforce, because even if an individual is in possession of burglarious tools or outfits, it is very difficult to prove intent to commit burglary, robbery, or larceny. Section 18.2-94.

An individual guilty of possessing burglarious tools (a Class 5 felony) faces a penalty conviction with one to 10 years in prison OR, at the discretion of a court or jury, up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Section 18.2-10(e).

Breaking & Entering with Intent to Commit Misdemeanor (Section 18.2-92)

If an individual (1) breaks and enters a home (2) while someone else is in the home (3) with the intent to commit a misdemeanor apart from trespassing or assault and battery, then the individual is guilty of breaking and entering with intent to commit other misdemeanor. Section 18.2-92. This crime is considered a Class 6 felony if the individual was not armed during the crime, but it becomes a Class 2 felony if the individual was armed with a deadly weapon when the individual entered the home. Section 18.2-92.

If the individual is guilty of breaking and entering with intent to commit other misdemeanor without being armed, then the individual faces a felony conviction one to five years in prison or, at the discretion of the court or jury a lessened penalty of up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Section 18.2-92; 18.2-10(f).

If the individual is guilty of breaking and entering with intent to commit other misdemeanor while armed with a deadly weapon, then the individual faces a felony conviction with 20 years to life in prison and a possible fine of up to $100,000. Section 18.2-92; 18.2-10(b).

Entering Bank Armed with Intent to Commit Larceny (Section 18.2-93)

If an individual (1) armed with a deadly weapon (2) enters a bank, whether at night or during the day, (3) with the intent to steal things, then the individual is guilty of entering bank armed with intent to commit larceny. Section 18.2-93. This is a Class 2 felony, which means the individual faces a felony conviction with 20 years to life in prison and a possible fine of up to $100,000. Section 18.2-10(b).

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