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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
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Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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My boyfriend had a warrant out on him from his ex-girlfriend

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My boyfriend had a warrant out on him from his ex-girlfriend for burglary and domestic violence. I want to know if convicted what can he be charged with. He had a key to there apartment all he took was his clothes. He also has witnesses saying he never hit her. We live in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 4 years ago.
Jacustomer,

Unfortunately, one doesn't have to pick a lock or break a window or door to get convicted of a burglary. You can use a set of keys and be a burglar. All that's required is that you enter the premises without the permission or authority to do so and with the intent to commit a crime inside. (See statute) This would be a felony of the first degree in Pennsylvania, which means that he could receive more than 10 years of prison for this offense.

The domestic violence would likely be a misdemeanor if there were no injuries and no weapon used. But domestic violence is a broad term under which could fall many different types of crimes, so I cannot get more specific here. If this one were his only charge and it was a misdemeanor with no injuries, he would likely be able to resolve this without jail, assuming he were interested in a plea bargain.

The fact that he had a set of keys and took only his clothes might provide him with the makings of a defense to the burglary, but it won't get the case dismissed, particularly if any of the things he took from his former place are in dispute (his things, but she wants some of them and thinks that they are or should be hers). However, although this may make out a burglary on paper, DAs usually don't prosecute something like this as a burglaries when what you have is an ex going back to his old house without permission to get his stuff. They almost always reduce them to a lower level offense.

Generally charges like these under the circumstances you describe turn into a non-incarceratory plea opportunity -- probation, with counseling and anger management classes and an order of protection on behalf of the complainant. However, as you can see, burglary is a very serious charge and I don't have at my disposal the facts that the DA has. So make sure your boyfriend has a lawyer if he's brought into court.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
He is incarserated now. And altough I am not exaclty sure but his name may be on the lease also. Can that make a differance?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 4 years ago.
Jacustomer,

As I have said, although a defendant would get brought in on a burglary charge, something like this is rarely prosecuted as an actual residential burglary. If his name is XXXXX XXXXX lease, so much the better. I would expect the top count to be reduced to something much more manageable unless there are really ugly facts here that you haven't mentioned.
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 17323
Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.