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Hinman Law Blog

Burglary and Robbery

Armed Burglary/Breaking and Entering at Night

Burglary is governed by Massachusetts General Laws Ch. 266, Section 14, and is defined as breaking and entering a dwelling house in the nighttime, with the intent to commit a felony. The state must prove the following:

  1. That you entered a house;
  2. That the house was a dwelling house (residence);
  3. That the entry occurred at night time;
  4. That you intended to commit a felony;
  5. That you were armed with a dangerous weapon or armed yourself therein;
  6. That if you did not intend to commit a felony when you entered, you made an actual assault on a person therein.

This is an extremely serious felony in Massachusetts, and carries a potential penalty of life in prison, with a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. If armed with a firearm, machine gun, shotgun, rifle, or assault weapon, the minimum sentence is 15 years in prison.

Unarmed Burglary

Unarmed Burglary has the exact same elements as Burglary, except that the breaking and entering must occur without a weapon or assault on a person therein. The maximum penalty for unarmed burglary is 20 years in state prison, with a 5-year minimum sentence if you have been previously convicted of a similar offense.

Breaking and Entering – Daytime

This crime is governed by Massachusetts General Laws Ch. 266, Section 18, and is defined as breaking and entering into a building, ship, motor vehicle, or vessel unlawfully, with the intent to commit a felony. Even opening an unlocked door or slipping through the open sunroof of a car fulfills the “breaking” requirement. This is a lesser-included offense of Breaking and Entering at Night. The maximum penalty for this crime is 10 years in state prison or 2 years in jail, and/or a $500 fine. If armed with a firearm during the commission of this crime, the minimum state prison sentence is 5 years.

Armed Robbery

Armed Robbery is an extremely serious felony in Massachusetts, and is governed by Massachusetts General Laws Ch. 265, Sec. 17. Armed Robbery is the stealing or taking of the property of another person by using force, violence, or assault, or by putting that person in fear, and doing so while being armed with a weapon. The weapon does not have to be used during the robbery in order to be convicted under this law. In fact, even if the victim never sees the weapon and is unaware of its presence, it is still sufficient to be convicted of Armed Robbery. Actual force need not be used- threatening words are enough, as long as the victim was in put in fear. The maximum penalty for Armed Robbery is life in prison. If you are masked or disguised during the commission of an Armed Robbery, or in possession of a firearm, machine gun, assault weapon, shotgun, or rifle, there is a minimum sentence of 5 years in prison.

Unarmed Robbery

Unarmed Robbery is defined by the same elements as Armed Robbery- the only difference is that the defendant is not armed. Like Armed Robbery, this crime carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. The minimum penalties are increased if the victim is over 60 years old, or if you are a repeat offender.

If you have been charged with Burglary or Robbery in Framingham, Natick, Needham, Dedham, Boston, Newton, Wayland, Watertown, Waltham, Somerville, Quincy, Billerica, or anywhere in Suffolk, Middlesex, or Norfolk County, contact Attorney Hinman for immediate assistance at 617-283-4480 or by using the form to the left.