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Laws and International Laws

Common Law Burglary and Modern Law Burglary


Crime refers to the violation of laws and rules of a state. It is defined as the actions or activities which offend a person, society, or state. Some major types of crimes are murder, rape, kidnapping, gang violence, terrorism, and domestic violence, etc. According to Kopp (2019), burglary is the unlawful entrance to any structure that may be a business or home, to commit a certain crime inside the premises. It is considered a burglar crime when an offender just trespasses through the main gate of a building; it doesn’t require any physical breaking, robbery, or harming other’s property. Burglary crimes have been observed for centuries. It was originally dealt with under the common law of a state. However, countries around the globe developed separate penal codes with certain modifications. For instance, the common law burglary is defined as the crime that took place in living in the house of someone else at night. Moreover, some states have broadened their scope and included businesses and unauthorized entrance in the daytime as well. Here we will discuss the concept of burglary law under both the common law and modern-day law.


Burglary under Common Law

According to LSAT preparation experts, Under the common law of burglary, some elements are included such as trespass, breaking, Entry, dwelling, nighttime, and intent.

Trespass is one of the elements of the offence under the common law, which signifies the entrance of a person without the willingness of the victim. For instance, the entrance of a person without presenting his identity is considered a trespass without the consent of the victim or owner.

Breaking is the second element of burglary, which refers to the creation or opening of an entrance in a building for entry. Breaking can be accomplished if a person removes an object which has blocked the entry. It doesn’t require the use of any force; it is satisfying when the entrance is made possible by opening others’ a window or door even if the door or window is unlocked.

Entry is also an element of burglary, which is acted after breaking. It is satisfied by the entrance of a person physically into others’ place of dwelling. When a person kicks the door or window open and gets access, even his or her foot insertion is considered as the entry.

Dwelling under the common law of burglary is the place which is occupied by a person to live and sleep. Even the immediately surrounding place outside the house is included in the dwelling.

Nighttime is an essential element of burglary; it is the breaking and entry offence at night time. In some states, it is considered a very high degree of offence.

Intent Under the common law is to commit a felony at the time of entrance, dwelling, etc. It is no longer required for all kinds of offences.

Burglary under Modern Law

Under the modern burglary statutes, it is not necessary that a crime is committed at night time. Over time the elements of the crime have evolved. The scope of burglary has broadened, and its charges can surprise a defender who is not familiar with modern-world offences. It is usually treated as a felony, and the convicted person can face jail for a year or more. Burglary is not a common case that could be handled on your own; a person needs an attorney to explain a valid reason for entrance (DeLisi et al., 2017). For instance, a person is charged with burglary for the entry to his ex-wife’s house by climbing through a window. His wife has a threat that he will harm her physically.


Burglary is a crime which can be traced back to centuries ago. There are certain laws to protect society and the life and property of a person from the offenders. These laws were evolved with time. It is considered a major crime because it is concerned with the security of a person. There are certain elements which define the boundaries and offences of burglary.


DeLisi, M., Beauregard, E., & Mosley, H. (2017). Armed burglary: a marker for extreme instrumental violence. Journal of Criminal Psychology, 7(1), 3-12.

Kopp, P. M. (2019). Is burglary a violent crime? An empirical investigation of the Armed Career Criminal Act’s classification of burglary as a violent felony. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 30(5), 663-680.



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