Burglary is a serious crime in Indiana, with penalties that could include 20 years in prison or higher in some instances. If charged, you need to understand what you can do to defend yourself. Keep reading to learn more.


Burglary is the unlawful entry of a structure with the intent to commit a crime. This can include a home, car, store or any dwelling where people reside.

From the definition, there are two key elements of burglary, including:

  1. Entering a building or structure without permission – There are two ways that you can enter a residence or someone else’s property, i.e., through an opening (like a door or window) or by breaking into the property. Even if you just stick your fingers inside someone else’s open window, you’re already halfway through committing a burglary crime.
  2. Intent to commit a crime – You must have a plan to commit a crime once inside the property. The prosecutor will prove intent by looking at the tools you carried, statements made before the arrest, or the crime itself.


Burglary is classified based on its seriousness. For example, a first-degree burglary charge, which is the most serious, involves breaking into a residence and committing a felony. It also includes entering an occupied residence, causing bodily injury, or threatening victims with a deadly weapon. You should consult with a criminal defense attorney to analyze your situation because there are a lot of elements that Indiana courts consider.

A second-degree burglary can happen when you unlawfully enter an unoccupied and commit a felony. The court will also look at the value of damaged or stolen items and your criminal history. If a person was present, the seriousness of the physical or mental trauma they suffer could also make the crime a second-degree burglary.

Entering a nonresidential building without breaking into it with the intention of committing a crime is a third-degree burglary in Indiana. Also, first-time offenders in Indiana may be subject to this charge if they don’t do any serious damage or, for example, run away after hearing the family dog bark.

Penalties for burglary in Indiana range from 2 to 40 years in prison, depending on the degree. Additionally, the court could order you to pay fines and restitution to the victims.