Maryland Burglary Laws

Although it's often associated with theft and robbery, burglary doesn't have to involve the actual taking of property. That's because it's generally defined as the breaking and entering of a structure with the intent to commit any crime inside, which includes theft, but also assault or other crimes.

In Maryland, burglary is broken down into four degrees with a few ancillary crimes such as possession of burglar's tools, burglary with destructive device, and burglary of research facilities. Fourth degree burglary, the most basic level in Maryland, criminalizes the general elements of burglary individually. For example, breaking and entering or intent to commit theft while "in or on" another's property, even if one hasn't actually engaged in "breaking and entering," is considered a crime. Third degree burglary in Maryland is more in line with the traditional definition as it punishes breaking and entering the "dwelling" of another with the intent to commit a crime inside.

When it comes to second and first degree burglary, these are usually determined by the type of structure and the specific crimes intended. Second degree burglary, for example, involves breaking and entering into a "storehouse" to commit theft, crimes of violence, or arson. First degree burglary applies to "dwellings" and the intended crimes of theft or crimes of violence.

Maryland Burglary Laws at a Glance

For more information on specific Maryland burglary laws and penalties, see the chart below.

Statutes

Maryland Criminal Code Section 6-202 (First Degree Burglary and Felony Home Invasion)

Maryland Criminal Code Section 6-203 (Second Degree Burglary)

Maryland Criminal Code Section 6-204 (Third Degree Burglary)

Maryland Criminal Code Section 6-205 (Fourth Degree Burglary)

Maryland Criminal Code Section 6-206 (Possession of Burglar's Tools)

Maryland Criminal Code Section 6-207 (Burglary With Destructive Device)

Maryland Criminal Code Section 6-208 (Breaking Into a Research Facility)

Possible Penalties

First Degree Burglary: This is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison if it involves breaking into a dwelling with the intent to commit theft or up to 25 years if it involves a dwelling with the intent to commit a crime of violence (felony home invasion).

Second Degree Burglary: This is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison if it involves a storehouse with the intent to commit theft, violence or arson or up to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000 if it involves breaking into a storehouse with the intent to steal a firearm.

Third Degree Burglary: This is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Fourth Degree Burglary: This is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 3 years in prison.

Possession of Burglar's Tools: This is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 3 years in prison.

Burglary With Destructive Device: This is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Breaking Into A Research Facility: This is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.

Defenses

Burglary defenses can include:

  • Mistake of fact
  • Lack of intent
  • Consent of property owner
  • Coercion
  • Duress
  • Entrapment

For more information, see Burglary Defenses.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Maryland Burglary Laws: Related Resources

Free Preliminary Evaluation of Your Burglary Case

With the many variations of Maryland burglary laws, you may have a good chance of obtaining a plea deal let alone an acquittal if your case is improperly charged. There are many qualified criminal defense attorneys in Maryland who can help you to evaluate your case. Reach out to one today for a free initial evaluation and learn more about your options going forward.

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