A Look at Crimes Involving Residences or Property

Crimes involving property are very common charges in Indiana. The Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorneys at Banks & Brower are well equipped to help you fight these charges. Fist lets take a look at the types of charges. We are all familiar with the home burglary, which we will look at, but there are a number of other crimes that effect or involve someone’s home.  For purposes of this blog we will use Johnny as a our suspect.
Trespass:
So lets say Johnny decides to walk down his street in Indianapolis and without permission goes on another person’s property.  He has committed the crime of trespass right?  Well you would thinks so, but trespass is a bit more involved than that.  The pertinent part of the trespass statute reads:
A person who:
(1) not having a contractual interest in the property, knowingly or intentionally enters the real property of another person after having been denied entry by the other person or that person’s agent;
(2) not having a contractual interest in the property, knowingly or intentionally refuses to leave the real property of another person after having been asked to leave by the other person or that person’s agent;
So, as you can see, until the property owner has either previously told Johnny to stay off of their property or has asked him to leave and he refuses to leave, then Johnny is OK to walk around his neighbors yard without having committed trespass.
Criminal Mischief
So Johnny has become bored with wondering around his neighbors yard, without any consequences, he decides to return home.  While Johnny was on his walk, his buddies from Noblesville drove their car over to Johnny’s and decided to do doughnuts in his yard, destroying his front yard.  Johnny calls the police and wonders what charges can be filed against his “friends” for their destructive ways.  The police inform him they will hunt down his buddies and charge them with criminal mischief.  The law on criminal mischief reads in pertinent part:
A person who:
(1) recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally damages or defaces property of another person without the other person’s consent; or
(2) knowingly or intentionally causes another to suffer pecuniary loss by deception or by an expression of intention to injure another person or to damage the property or to impair the rights of another person;
commits criminal mischief, a Class B misdemeanor. However, the offense is:
(A) a Class A misdemeanor if:
(i) the pecuniary loss is at least two hundred fifty dollars ($250) but less than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500).
So since Johnny’s buddies destroyed his front yard intentionally, they will face charges of criminal mischief.  The only questions remains is whether the damage exceeded $250.  If more than $250, then it is an A misdemeanor, which can mean up to 1 year in jail.
Residential Entry
Johnny is not satisfied that the police will respond quickly enough so he goes out searching for his buddies himself.  Johnny thinks they may be hiding out at a house in Fishers so he drives up there.  Johnny sees his friend’s car in the driveway so he starts banging on the front door.  His friends refuse to answer the door, so Johnny decides to go ahead and kick the door in and walk in the house uninvited.  A neighbor across the street sees this happen and calls the police.  Johnny is arrested for residential entry.  The Residential Entry law reads:
A person who knowingly or intentionally breaks and enters the dwelling of another person commits residential entry, a Level 6 Felony.  That means Johnny could face 2 1/2 years in prison.
Burglary
Johnny’s uncle bonded him out of jail and hired him an attorney with the agreement that he had to pay his uncle back within two weeks.  Johnny just doesn’t know how to leave well enough alone, so he drives over to Carmel to try to find a way to pay his uncle back.  Johnny finds a nice home on a quiet street and breaks in with the intent to steal money and any other valuables he can find to try to pay his uncle back.  Instead, he trips a silent alarm and the police respond and catch Johnny red handed.  This time the police arrest Johnny for burglary.  The burglary statute reads:
A person who breaks and enters the building or structure of another person, with intent to commit a felony or theft in it, commits burglary.  Since this was a residence, the crime is a Level 4 felony, which means Johnny now faces a maximum of 12 years in prison.
As you can see, Indiana values protecting the property rights of Hoosiers and has created very serious consequences if someone commits one of these crimes.  This is a summary of the most serious violations and some of the information in this blog will be changed when the criminal code changes in July 2014.
If you are charged with any of the crimes like Johnny, contact the Indianapolis Criminal Defense Lawyers at Banks & Brower to assist you at 317-870-0019. With offices located in Indianapolis and Noblesville, we represent clients all over the state of Indiana.