Types of Burglaries in Kentucky
A person can be charged with burglary for breaking into a home, a church, or even a boat with the intent to commit another crime, such as theft or vandalism. Kentucky’s burglary offenses are comprised of complex legal definitions that should be navigated by an experienced attorney who can make sure you haven’t been over-charged.
Burglary First Degree
Burglary law in Kentucky is comprised of four possible offenses. Under KRS 511.020, a person is guilty of burglary in the first degree when he or she knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a building with the intent to commit a crime, and either while entering or while fleeing from the building, is either (1) armed with explosives or a deadly weapon; (2) causes physical injury to any person who is not a participant in the crime; or (3) uses or threatens the use of a dangerous instrument against any person who is not a participant in the crime.
A deadly weapon can include any of the following:
- A weapon of mass destruction
- Any weapon from which a shot, readily capable of producing death or other serious physical injuries, may be discharged
- Billy, nightstick, or club
- Blackjack or slapjack
- Nunchaku karate sticks
- Shuriken or death star
- Artificial knuckles made from metal, plastic, or other similar hard material
Definition of “Dangerous Instrument”
A dangerous instrument is defined under Kentucky law as “any instrument, including parts of the human body when a serious physical injury is a direct result of the use of that part of the human body, article, or substance which, under the circumstances in which it is used, attempted to be used, or threatened to be used, is readily capable of causing death or serious physical injury.” Burglary in the first degree is a Class B felony and is punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison.
Burglary Second Degree
KRS 511.030 defines burglary in the second degree as knowingly entering or remaining in a dwelling with the intent to commit a crime. Burglary in the second degree is a Class C felony punishable by 5-10 years in prison.
Burglary Third Degree
Third-degree burglary under KRS 511.040 is when a person knowingly enters or remains in a building with the intent to commit a crime. Burglary in the third degree is a Class D felony punishable by 1-5 years in prison.
Possession of Burglar’s Tools
The final offense related to burglary is possession of burglar’s tools, which is contained in KRS 511.050. A person is guilty of this offense when he or she possesses any tool, instrument, or other thing adapted, designed, or commonly used for committing or facilitating the commission of an offense involving forcible entry into premises or theft by a physical taking under circumstances which leave no reasonable doubt as to his or her (1) intention to use the same in the commission of an offense of such character or (2) knowledge that some other person intends to use the same in the commission of an offense of such character. Possession of burglar’s tools is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by 1 year in jail.
Difference between “Building” and “Dwelling”
An important distinction within burglary law is the difference between a building and a dwelling. In Kentucky law, a “building” includes any structure, vehicle, watercraft, or aircraft where any person lives or where people assemble for purposes of business, government, education, religion, entertainment, or public transportation. In addition, separate units within a building can count as separate “buildings” under the law. In contrast, a “dwelling” is a building which is usually occupied by a person who lodges within it. Kentucky law also has a definition for “premises,” which includes a building and any real property.