Georgia law treats property crimes differently depending on the crime in question. Theft, robbery and burglary are all considered different crimes under state law and each has its own penalties.
Burglary requires you to unlawfully enter a structure with the intent to commit a crime within the building. This does not only extend to theft, but may include assault or kidnapping as well.
Three forms of burglary
According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Georgia has three forms of burglary under GA Code § 16-7-1 (2014). They are first degree burglary, second degree burglary and “smash and grab” burglary. First degree burglary involves entering or staying in dwellings. This applies to unoccupied, occupied or vacant housing. You must have the intention of committing a theft or felony inside.
With second degree burglary, the elements remain similar. The key difference is that the structure you enter is not considered a dwelling. Smash and grab burglary is a crime against businesses. It involves entering a retail establishment with the intention of committing theft and causing damages of $500 or more.
All burglaries are felonies
The law categorizes all three forms of burglary as felonies. First degree burglary can get you up to 20 years in prison. Second degree burglary may net up to 5 years in prison. Smash and grab burglary can get you 20 years in prison and fines of up to $100,000.
If you have 4 or more convictions of any type of burglary, you cannot have your sentence probated, withheld, deferred, or suspended. As such, you should always take charges of burglary seriously. The state treats them as serious crimes, and you can do serious time for them.