Is breaking and entering a felony in Virginia?

According to the Statutory Law:

“Statutory burglary is defined in Virginia as an entry with or without breaking, with the intent to commit larceny or any felony other than murder, rape, or robbery. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-91. [United States v. Mangum, 1992 U.S. App. LEXIS 28425 (4th Cir. 1992)].”

The law states that anyone who breaks into the property of others with the intent of committing a crime that does not involve murder, rape, or robbery is considered as a burglary. This means that if people are caught trespassing on other’s property, with or without their consent, and involved in an act of crime, it is considered as a felony in Virginia.

The real question is what are the consequences of such acts of a felony?

According to Virginia criminal law, a minor act of burglary can attract a penalty and jail term of up to 12 months. Even if you are caught during the act of burglary but have not yet committed a crime, you could still go to prison. Burglary does not necessarily mean stealing goods without a person’s consent. If you break into someone’s house to scare them such as vandalism, it is still considered as burglary and is punishable by the law.

Certain cases of burglaries are classified as a greater threat i.e. the class 6 burglary. Such cases can attract a jail term of up to 5 years. Now that is many years for a crime and can ruin your life as a whole. People who are convicted felons have a troublesome future that can steep their lives to desperate conditions. For example, people with a prior criminal record have a hard time finding a job as companies these days have access to the criminal database and can check the background of a job candidate for previous criminal records. If a candidate is found with a criminal background, they lose their chance of getting the job, which means goodbye to your financial freedom.

Spending time in jail can also leave you with a psychological stain that can imbalance your mood. Moreover, imagine the agony of facing your family, friends, and relatives after being convicted of a crime. Of course, people who engage in burglary might often do so due to dire circumstances, but many engage in burglary out of vandalism and recklessness. Even if a person is facing dire circumstances or financial constraint, there are better options than committing a crime. For example, if a person is needy and does not have food to eat, there are options and charitable organizations that offer people free food, which is much better than stealing from someone. Secondly, even if you enter someone’s house and do not commit a crime, the penalty is all the same. Therefore, sometimes, you are caught and punished for a crime even if you hadn’t committed it yet, but only had the intent to do so. In short, the stakes in burglary are too high to anyone to be risking their future.