Recently a client from Birmingham, Alabama was charged with Burglary in the first degree. He was charged in Pelham, Alabama over in Shelby County. He went out drinking one night and all he remembers is waking up on a couch looking at the wrong end of a police issued revolver. His shoes and socks were placed neatly outside the front door, he had taken off his shirt and went to sleep on someone couch, in a home that was not his own. Burglary in the first degree is defined as knowingly or unlawfully entering or remaining in a building with the intent to commit a crime. The Alabama Burglary in the first degree statute is below:
Burglary in the first degree.
(a) A person commits the crime of burglary in the first degree if he or she knowingly and unlawfully enters or remains unlawfully in a dwelling with intent to commit a crime therein, and, if, in effecting entry or while in dwelling or in immediate flight therefrom, the person or another participant in the crime:
- Is armed with explosives; or
- Causes physical injury to any person who is not a participant in the crime; or
- In effecting entry, is armed with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument or, while in the dwelling or immediate flight from the dwelling, uses or threatens the immediate use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument against another person. The use of or threatened use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument does not include the mere acquisition of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument during the burglary.
(b) Burglary in the first degree is a Class A felony.
My client has an excellent defense to the charges. The state of Alabama must prove he entered the home with the intent of committing a crime. In my clients circumstances, it will be very hard to prove he entered the home while intending to commit a crime. His shoes were off, he had taken off his shirt to sleep, and he was in fact sleeping as the police arrested him. It seems fairly clear, that with a quality Alabama criminal defense lawyer and attorney representing his interests, he cannot be found guilty of burglary in the first degree. My argument would be simple. He was extremely drunk and entered the home thinking it was his friends home. Thus, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt this is not the case. The facts and circumstances, along with a good Alabama DUI and criminal defense attorney, will assuredly result in a not-guilty verdict.