One night, I was very drunk and while I was attempting to get home, I must have entered into a neighbors house. I woke up being arrested. I was charged with burglary. Obviously what I did was wrong, but burglary seems like a very serious charge considering my acts. The incident seems more like criminal trespass to me. Am I guilty of any crimes?
Property crimes are somewhat straight forward. To be guilty of burglary, you must have the intent at the time that you enter the property to commit another crime once you get in the house. For example, stealing something, or raping someone. Simply going in the house to sleep is not burglary because sleeping is not a crime.
For trespass, if you break in to a building, or going into a building, in which you know you are not allowed
to be present, you are guilty of trespass. However, there are many different grades of trespass from a summary to a felony of the second degree.
In your case, I would need to know how you got into the house in order to answer your question. If the door was kept unlocked and you can show that it was kept unlocked, you are guilty of a summary called simple trespass, a misdemeanor called defiant trespaa, or you are not guilty of any crime. If you broke through a door or window to get into the house you are guilty of criminal trespass as a felony of the second degree.
The difficulty with your case is that voluntary intoxication does not negate criminal intent in Pennsylvania, so you can't use your drunkenness as a defense.
Labels: burglary, criminal trespass, defiant trespass, simple trespass, trespass