There are many property owners in Tennessee and they have the authority to determine who may and may not enter their property. They can also determine the time frames when people are invited into their buildings or homes. For example, businesses may be open to the general public, but only during business hours. If people enter into the business after these hours or enter one’s home without being invited in, they could be charged with crimes.

The type of crime people could be charged with generally depends on the intentions of the people once they enter into the property. One type of charge is trespass if they are simply on the property without permission. However, if the intention is to take something or commit a different type of crime while in the building they could be charged with burglary.

In order to be convicted of burglary though certain elements must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. These factors are: they entered into a building or hide inside a building or part of a building not open to the public with the intent to commit, attempt to commit or commit a theft, felony or assault; or they enter a train car, boat, airplane or other types of motor vehicles with the intent to commit, attempt to commit or commit a felony, theft or assault. Burglaries are generally class D felonies, which could result in two to 12 years in jail.

People can also be charged with an aggravated burglary if they enter into people’s homes in order to commit a burglary as described above. Aggravated burglary is a class C felony, which could result in three to 15 years in jail. The charges can be increased to especially aggravated burglary if a victim suffers a serious injury during the commission of a burglary or aggravated burglary. This is a class B felony, which could result in eight to 30 years in prison.

Burglary is a serious charge in Tennessee and has serious consequences. However, people need to be convicted before they realize these potential consequences. There could be defenses available to people charged with burglary, which could help them avoid a conviction. Understanding these defenses is very important and consulting with an experienced attorney could be very beneficial.