ARS 13-1506 is the Arizona statute that defines the crime of third-degree burglary. People usually commit this offense when they unlawfully enter or remain in or on a nonresidential structure or in a fenced commercial or residential yard with the intent to commit a theft or felony. A violation of this law is a Class 4 felony punishable by a state prison term of up to almost four years.
Note that burglary law in Arizona is divided into three different degrees. These are:
- first-degree burglary, per ARS 13-1508,
- second-degree burglary, per ARS 13-1507, and
- third-degree burglary, per ARS 13-1506.
The language of ARS 13-1506 states that: “A person commits burglary in the third degree by:
- Entering or remaining unlawfully in or on a nonresidential structure or in a fenced commercial or residential yard with the intent to commit any theft or any felony therein.
- Making entry into any part of a motor vehicle by means of a manipulation key or master key, with the intent to commit any theft or felony in the motor vehicle.”
- breaking into a commercial structure for the purpose of stealing something.
- going into a neighbor’s yard with the intent to harass the person.
- breaking and entering a vehicle in order to take something from the glove box.
Criminal defense lawyers draw upon several different legal strategies to help defendants challenge burglary charges. Some of these include showing that the defendants:
- did not have an intent to commit a crime while in or on some property,
- had a legal right to be on the property, and/or
- were a victim of mistaken identity.
Third-degree burglary is a Class 4 felony in the State of Arizona (as opposed to a misdemeanor offense). The crime is punishable by up to three years and nine months in state prison.
In this article, our Phoenix Arizona criminal defense attorneys will discuss what the law is under this statute, defenses available if charged, the penalties for a conviction, and related crimes.
1. How does Arizona law define “third-degree burglary”?
People in Arizona are guilty of burglary if they:
- unlawfully enter or remain in or on a nonresidential structure or in a fenced yard, and
- do so with the intent to commit a theft or a felony.i
For the purposes of this criminal code section, a “structure” includes cars, trucks, or other motor vehicles.ii
People can also commit third-degree burglary by:
- breaking into a motor vehicle by means of a manipulation key or master key, and
- doing so with the intent to commit any theft or felony inside the vehicle.iii
A “manipulation key” means a key, device, or instrument, other than a key that is designed to operate a specific lock and that can be variably positioned and manipulated in a vehicle keyway.iv
2. What are the defenses to a charge under ARS 13-1506?
People can challenge criminal charges in a burglary case with a legal defense/disclaimer. Three possible defenses include defendants showing that they:
- did not intend to commit a crime.
- were not unlawfully on or in some property.
- were a victim of mistaken identity.
2.1 No intent to commit a crime
Recall that people are only guilty of burglary if they go in or on some property with the intent to steal something or commit a felony. A defense, then, is for an accused to show that he did not have this purpose or aim. Perhaps, for example, the accused unlawfully entered some property because he/she was lost.
2.2 Legal right to be on the property
Also recall that a person can only commit burglary if he/she unlawfully entered or remained on some property. This means it is a defense for a party to show that he/she did not act unlawfully, or, had some legal right to be on the property in question.
2.3 Mistaken identity
People sometimes commit burglary while wearing a mask or some type of disguise. As a result, accusers might not get a good glimpse at a suspect and accuse the person of a crime by accident. Therefore, a defense is for accused people to show that they were unjustly blamed.
3. What are the penalties?
A violation of ARS 13-1506 is a Class 4 felony.
The maximum penalty for a person’s first offense under this statute is three years, nine months in state prison. This sentence will increase for people with prior felony convictions.
If a third-degree burglary charge gets classified as a “dangerous offense,” then the maximum penalty is eight years in prison.
4. Are there related crimes?
There are three crimes related to third-degree burglary. These are:
- theft – ARS 13-1802,
- robbery – ARS 13-1902, and
- trespass – ARS 13-1504.
4.1 Theft – ARS 13-1802
Per ARS 13-1802, theft is the crime where someone:
- knowingly uses or takes another person’s property or services, and
- does so without lawful authority.
In burglary cases, when people commit theft in a structure or a yard, they typically steal someone else’s property as opposed to services.
4.2 Robbery – ARS 13-1902
Under ARS 13-1902, robbery is the offense where people, in the course of stealing property from another person, use threats or force to complete the stealing. If someone completes this crime with a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument, then he or she may get charged with armed robbery, per ARS 13-1904.
Note that unlike with ARS 13-1506, people have to use some type of threat or force to be guilty under this statute. Burglary does not require either act.
4.3 Trespass – ARS 13-1504
Under ARS 13-1504, first-degree criminal trespassing is when people knowingly enter someone else’s property without permission or unlawfully remain on certain pieces of real property without permission.
Note that trespassing is the first element in a burglary case. If a person then intends to steal something while on the property, or wants to commit some felony, then the police can charge that person with both:
- trespassing, and
For additional help…
For additional guidance or to discuss your case with a criminal defense lawyer, we invite you to contact our law firm at the Shouse Law Group. Our attorneys provide both free consultations and legal advice you can trust.