Burglary and Home Invasions in Oklahoma

Oklahoma protects people and their property from intruders with the state's burglary, home invasion, and criminal trespass laws.

Burglary

In Oklahoma, burglary is defined as unauthorized entry into a structure with the intent to commit a crime therein. Home invasion is the burglary of a dwelling (like a house, apartment, RV, or even a tent), and incurs harsher penalties than the burglary of other structures (discussed below).

Elements of Burglary

The two parts of the definition are known as the “elements” of the crime, and to be convicted of burglary, both elements of the crime must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt (or admitted to by the defendant). That is, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant actually entered the building, and entered with the intent to commit a crime therein. Without sufficient proof of each element, the prosecutor may secure a conviction for some other crime (such as trespass or attempted burglary), but not burglary.

But notice too that the intended crime need not be completed; proof of entry and criminal intent are the only requirements for a conviction.

Entering the building

The first element of the crime of burglary—entering— requires that you actually entered into a dwelling without permission to do so.

Entering with the intent to commit a crime

The second element of burglary concerns the defendant’s state of mind at the time he or she entered the building. To be convicted of burglary, the defendant must have decided to commit a crime, and then entered the building for that purpose.

Degrees and Penalties

Burglary is broken into several categories, with prison terms increasing according to the circumstances and severity of the crime.

First-degree burglary, or home invasion

This crime occurs when a defendant enters a dwelling while one or more people are present, while any of several specified circumstances apply (for example, while the defendant was armed with a firearm or explosive device, or if the defendant entered the dwelling with false keys or by breaking a wall or window). Penalties include at least seven (and up to 20) years in prison. (21 Ok. Stat. Ann. § 1431 & 1436.)

And if the defendant possessed  explosives, intending to use them or actually using them  during the crime, penalties increase to at least 20 (and up to 50) years in prison. (21 Ok. Stat. Ann. § 1441.)

Burglary in the second degree

This offense occurs when a defendant enters any building (other than a dwelling) where property is kept, with the intent to commit a crime; or breaks into coin-operated or another vending device with the intent to steal from it. Penalties include at least two (and up to seven) years in prison. (21 Ok. Stat. Ann. § 1431 & 1436.)

If the defendant possessed  explosives, intending to use them or actually using them  during the crime, penalties increase to  at least 20 (and up to 50) years in prison. (21 Ok. Stat. Ann. § 1441.)

Breaking and entering

This offense is a “catch all” crime that includes breaking and entering into any building or structure under circumstances not amounting to burglary  with or without  the intent to commit a crime therein. Notice that this crime may, but does not have to include the second element of burglary (intending to commit another crime once inside).

Breaking and entering is similar to trespass in that neither require a plan to commit another crime, but while trespass involves entry onto land (as discussed below), breaking and entry is concerned with unauthorized entry into a structure.

Breaking and entering is a  misdemeanor. (21 Ok. Stat. Ann. § 1438.) However, if the defendant possessedexplosives and used them (or intended to), the offense is a  felony, and penalties increase to at least 20 (and up to 50) years in prison. (21 Ok. Stat. Ann. § 1441.)

Possession of Burglar’s Tools or Implements

It is a  misdemeanor  to possess any implement designed or commonly used for burglary, with the intent to use the tool for that purpose. Examples include a crow bar, or a master key designed to be used to fit more than one lock (electronic or manual). (21 Ok. Stat. Ann. § 1437.)  For more information on how even everyday items can become burglar’s tools, see  Burglary Tools.

Trespass

Similar to burglary, trespass is defined as knowingly entering onto private property without the authority to do so. The difference between the two crimes is that trespass does not have the second element explained above (intending to commit a crime inside). Instead, merely entering qualifies as trespass.

Penalties vary according to the type of property involved. For example, unlawful entry onto land used for farming or ranching incurs a fine of at least $500 (and up to $1,500) and restitution for any damage caused while on the land, at least 30 days (and up to six months) in jail, or both. Penalties increase for second and subsequent convictions. (21 Ok. Stat. Ann. § 1835.2.)

Talk to a Lawyer

If you have been charged with burglary, criminal trespass, or a related crime, or if you have questions about state laws, consult a qualified local criminal defense attorney. Only an attorney can review the unique facts of your situation, and advise you on how the law will apply to your case.

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