Breaking and Entering in the Nighttime with Intent to Commit a Felony
The crime of breaking and entering in the nighttime with intent to commit a felony is governed by M.G.L. ch. 266 §16. In order to be convicted for this offense, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual engaged in the following conduct:
- The defendant broke into a building, ship, vessel or vehicle that belonged to another person
- The defendant entered the building, ship, vessel or vehicle
- The defendant did so with the intent to commit a felony
- This event took place during the nighttime
Massachusetts courts have published extensive opinions explaining what specific conduct is and is not sufficient to satisfy the elements of this crime. Breaking is defined as exerting physical force, even if slight, to remove an object for the purpose of entry. Examples of breaking include the following:
- Going through an open window that is not intended for use as an entrance is a breaking;
- An entry has been committed once any part of the body [i.e., hand, finger, leg] enters into the threshold of the home after a breaking;
- Removing a loose plank that is not fixed to the threshold is not a breaking;
- The intent to commit a felony must be present at the time of the breaking; proof of intent to commit a misdemeanor [such as a trespass] is insufficient. It is not necessary for the Commonwealth to prove any specific felony just that the defendant intended to commit any felony.
Relative to the definition of “nighttime” the law is that it begins one hour after sunset and ends one hour before sunrise the next day.
All of these elements must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. There are also situations in which it is not necessary for the defendant to do the actual breaking; a defendant can be convicted if he or she assisted the individual who effected the break.
Relative to intent to steal, the judge instructs the jury that when an individual breaks into a place in the nighttime the jury can infer an intent to steal unless there is evidence to the contrary.If I Am Charged With This Crime Should I Have An Attorney?
Yes. Anytime there is a potential to be convicted of a crime, a defendant should appear in court with an attorney. Even if a defendant believes that he or she will be convicted, it is important to have an attorney to achieve the best possible disposition.
In order to successfully defend against this charge, you need an attorney like Kathleen M. McCarthy, an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer on your side. Attorney McCarthy has handled these types of cases for over twenty years.Penalties For Breaking And Entering In The Nighttime With Intent To Commit A Felony
If you are convicted for committing this crime you can be sentenced to serve up to twenty years in the state prison or up to 2 1/2 years in the house of correction. A conviction for this felony can also have collateral consequences and serve as an underlying felony offense for more serious charges in the state and federal courts. Convictions on these types of crimes usually carry stiff sentences.
If you are charged with this felony, do not take it lightly. In addition to fighting the case in the courtroom, Attorney McCarthy can engage in negotiations which may result in the reduction of the charge to lesser included or perhaps an outright dismissal. A successful outcome requires the services of a prepared, experienced and dedicated attorney like Kathleen M. McCarthy. Do not hesitate and call now so that she can start to work on your case.