Property Crimes

Burglary

Burglary means to enter or remain unlawfully in a building intending to commit a crime against a person or property. This is trespass plus, that is, trespass plus the intent to commit a crime. This charge will be a second degree unless the person is armed with a deadly weapon or assaults another, then it’s a first degree.

Trespass

Trespass means to knowingly enter or remain unlawfully on property. When someone enters inside a building, it’s first degree. If the person enters upon the curtilage (exterior premises), it’s second degree.

Theft

Theft means to wrongfully (i.e., without permission) take someone else’s property intending to deprive them of the property. The varying degrees distinguish between different dollar amounts.

Vehicle Prowling

Vehicle Prowling is like the car version of a Burglary. It means to enter or remain unlawfully in a vehicle intending to commit a crime against a person or property. Second degree (misdemeanor) means the person entered any old vehicle while first degree (felony) means they entered the kind of vehicle designed to sleep in, i.e., RVs or sailboats. If someone has two prior convictions, the third one is a felony.

Taking a Motor Vehicle

Taking a Motor Vehicle Without Permission seems like the equivalent of auto theft. But the thing with cars is that they’re big and bulky, car thieves probably use the car only for a short period of time. In other words, they do not form the intent to permanently deprive the true owner. The legislature probably amended this statute to reflect the nature of common car-taking schemes. Even voluntarily riding in a car known to be unlawfully taken is grounds to be charged. First degree adds elements of altering identifying features or selling all or parts of the vehicle. In other words, the joyrider gets a second degree charge while the chop shop proprietor gets a first degree.

Possessing Stolen Property

Possessing Stolen Property means that one knowingly has had in their possession, at one time, stolen property. So a person could get convicted even after possessing the property, assuming there is evidence of disposing of the property. The varying degrees distinguish between different dollar amounts.

Malicious Mischief

Malicious Mischief means to knowingly and maliciously damage someone else’s property. This crime also encompasses drawing graffiti on someone else’s property. Maliciously means an evil intent, wish, or design to vex, annoy, or injure another. There are varying degrees depending on the amount of damage.