Police in Birmingham have arrested a man they say is likely connected to scores of burglaries throughout the area.
Our Birmingham criminal defense lawyers understand the 24-year-old was taken into custody the day before Halloween on more than half dozen warrants, primarily relating to theft crimes that occurred on the city's west side.
Burglary detectives reportedly began investigating after a slew of burglary crimes were reported over the last month.
Among the felony charges he is facing: two counts of burglary and robbery, one count of receiving stolen property, two counts of failure to appear and a probation violation (which he was on for a previous theft conviction). All of this combined with his prior criminal record could result in a very long prison sentence if he is convicted.
Law enforcement officers added that additional charges could be filed as well. Second-degree burglary, meanwhile is a Class B felony.
First-degree burglary in Alabama is defined under the Code of Alabama 13A-7-5. It holds that a person commits first-degree burglary if he or she enters or stays unlawfully in a dwelling with the intent to commit a crime while there AND if during the entry or in the course or immediate flight is armed with a gun or explosives, injures someone who is not a co-defendant or threatens to use force. The same circumstances could also be charged as a second-degree burglary or, under 13A-7-6, the person simply enters a residence with the intent to commit a felony.
Third degree burglary is simply the entry into a building (not necessarily a dwelling) with the intent to commit a crime (not necessarily a felony).
Even third-degree burglary, the lowest-ranking of these as a Class C felony, is punishable by anywhere from 2 to 20 years in prison. Class B felonies, such as second-degree burglary, are punishable by the same, but double the fines. And Class A felonies, such as first-degree burglary, are punishable by a minimum of 9 years and a maximum of 99 years to life in prison.
These charges are serious, and as such, require an experienced criminal defense firm.
The one piece of good news is that burglary cases are notoriously difficult to prosecute, absent some physical evidence, such as forensics or video surveillance. The other key piece of evidence in these cases is often a confession. They get this directly from YOU! That's what happened in this case as well.
That is why it is so critical that you remember when you are arrested to speak to NO ONE without your lawyer present, or at least not before you discuss it first with your attorney. Otherwise, you're handing prosecutors the evidence they need to convict you.
The other piece of evidence prosecutors have in this case is the fact that one of the alleged robbery victims reportedly picked the defendant out of a line-up. But these methods used by law enforcement agencies to identify suspects are often extremely unreliable and don't hold up to strong scrutiny in court.
When you have a skilled lawyer, pieces of evidence like this can become a lesser issue in your case. But your own words can and often WILL be used against you in court. So say nothing.
Contact Birmingham Criminal Defense Attorney Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.
Birmingham man arrested on multiple burglary charges, Nov. 2, 2012, By Melynda Sides, Fox 6, WBRC-TV