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While TV crime dramas often tell the story of personal motivations, laws, perceptions and processes in an hour-long episode, but crimes and consequences in real life tell a different story.

Real-life criminal cases, from beginning to end, certainly take much longer than an hour. And the fallout is far less attractive and goes far beyond the basics of criminal charges and sentencing hearings.

If you’ve ever faced criminal charges before, then you know how scary the process can be.

Television is no place to get the facts.

That’s why we’re here.

If you or a loved one has been charged with burglary in South Carolina, get your facts from us. The questions and answers that follow may determine the course of your future. Also see this article that contains even more common questions and answers on burglary charges.

1. Is burglary a crime of moral turpitude?

A burglary charge can be considered a crime of moral turpitude, but that determination depends on the facts of the case. There isn’t a cut-and-dry definition.

What is “moral turpitude”?

Moral turpitude is a phrase that describes crimes that violate the moral or social values of the community. This federal legal description usually applies to crimes committed by an individual who was reckless or had evil intentions.

Defining a burglary charge as a crime of moral turpitude is most often a factor in immigration cases. If a judge or immigration agent deems a crime (burglary or otherwise) a crime of moral turpitude, an individual’s chance of deportation or granting of citizenship could be negatively affected.

Because there is no exact answer on whether or not a crime is of moral turpitude, getting legal counsel to sort out the details of the case is imperative for the best outcome.

2. What are burglary tools?

Burglary tools can be anything that’s used to break and enter. Having burglary tools in your possession is a felony. Some common burglary tools include:

  • Bolt cutters
  • Crowbars
  • Explosives
  • Hammers
  • Lock picks
  • Master keys
  • Screwdrivers
  • Torches that can penetrate concrete or steel

Of course, many people have such devices in their sheds or garages, and that’s not a crime. But an ordinary hammer or screwdriver turns into a burglary tool when the person who is using the tool intends to use it to break and enter, or actually uses it to break in and enter.

An individual convicted of possession of burglary tools will face up to five years in jail, a fine—the amount to be decided at the discretion of the court—or both jail time and a fine.

3. What does burglary of a conveyance mean?

A conveyance usually means a vehicle, but it can describe anything used to transport people or things.

So, a “burglary of a conveyance” occurs when a person breaks into a vehicle with the intent of stealing valuable items from inside or using the vehicle to commit a crime.

Burglary of a conveyance is a felony charge that can result in a sentence of up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

4. What does burglary of habitation mean?

A habitation is a house or a place that people live, so the laws that apply to a burglary of habitation are the same that apply to a burglary of a dwelling. The resulting charges are usually 1st or 2nd degree (nonviolent) burglary.

5. What does burglary of an unoccupied dwelling mean?

If a dwelling is unoccupied, that means no one is home at the time of the burglary.

In South Carolina, the law doesn’t distinguish between occupied or unoccupied dwellings when talking about criminal charges. However, if the person committing the crime knew that no one would be home at the time he or she committed burglary, it could have a positive effect on the judge at sentencing if the individual is convicted.

6. What’s the difference: burglary vs. robbery?

A burglary must involve breaking and entering, while robbery involves taking something by force.

7. What’s the difference: burglary vs. larceny?

Burglary and larceny are different. While larceny is the same thing as theft—taking something that isn’t rightfully yours, like pick-pocketing—burglary takes place when there is breaking and entering.

8. What’s the difference: burglary vs. theft?

Since theft and larceny are used interchangeably in South Carolina, see the answer in question 7.

9. Can burglary charges be reduced?

Yes, burglary charges can be reduced. Plea deals often result in reduced charges, and sometimes a lack of evidence can lead to reduced charges.

10. Do I need a lawyer to fight a burglary charge in SC?

Yes, you should consult with an attorney about your case. The punishment for burglary can be significant. And if you’re convicted of burglary, you will face lasting consequences that can ruin your life. For example, you may be disqualified from future opportunities because of a criminal record or lose touch with friends and family because of a long prison sentence. The possibilities are endless.

Don’t let a burglary charge ruin your future.

Facing burglary charges in SC? Since the penalties are severe for burglary convictions, you need a good attorney on your side. Don’t leave your life up to chance.

You deserve help from someone who can fight for your rights and your future—someone who is an experienced criminal defense attorney with an in-depth understanding of burglary charges in SC.

Call Kent Collins at 803-808-0905 or fill out this form to set up a free, no-obligation consultation.

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