Difference Between the Various Degrees of Burglary in Maryland
In Maryland, burglary offenses are broken up into four statutes: first degree, second degree, third degree, and fourth degree burglary. Maryland’s burglary laws often refer to “breaking and entering.”
First DegreeFirst degree burglary is breaking and entering another's dwelling with the intent to steal or commit a crime of violence. Actual breaking is making or enlarging a hole in a swelling, such as breaking a window or pushing a door open further. Constructive breaking is when force, threat of force, fraud, or trickery is used. Entering means any part of the body or any instrument crossing the secure boundary of a home or building, as long as it is used to commit a felony (i.e. coat hanger used to retrieve goods, but not merely to gain entry). Dwelling refers to realty where people regularly sleep. For example, an unoccupied summer home or an unoccupied apartment between rentals is still dwellings. First degree burglary is a felony that carries up to 20 years in prison.
Second DegreeSecond degree burglary is breaking and entering another's building or storehouse with the intent to steal or commit a crime of violence or arson. Building includes watercraft, barn, stable, pier, wharf, storeroom, warehouse, public building, trailer, aircraft, vessel, schoolhouse, supermarket, church, but not a vehicle or tent. Second degree burglary is a felony with a 20 year prison sentence maximum.
Third DegreeThird degree burglary is breaking and entering the dwelling of another with the intent of committing any crime. This is also a felony charge with a 10 year prison sentence maximum.
Fourth DegreeFourth degree burglary is breaking and entering a dwelling, storehouse, or yard of another with the intent to steal. This statute includes if you are caught in possession of burglar tools and intend to commit burglary. Fourth degree burglary is a misdemeanor and carries up to 3 years in prison.