Burglary 3rd Degree

Burglary 3rd Degree in South Carolina

Burglary 3rd Degree in South Carolina is the entry into a building without consent with the intent to commit a crime therein.  It typically involves theft but not always.  The entry may be by force like breaking a window or kicking in a door or without force such as entering by deception.

Hi, my name is Dale Savage and I’m a criminal defense attorney here in Charleston, SC. Today we’re talking about burglary charges and in particular 3rd degree burglary.

What’s the Law for Burglary 3rd Degree?

To establish burglary 3rd degree in SC the prosecutor must show you:

  • Entered a building;
  • Without consent; and
  • With intent to commit a crime therein.
    • 0-5 yrs. (felony)
    • 0-10yrs. 2nd offense, discretion of court

So let’s talk about this elements of this charge and what they mean. 

What is a Building?

So, what is a building under the statute:

  • Office, warehouse, any structure that’s not abandoned;
  • vehicle;
  • watercraft;
  • or aircraft.

As you can see definition of a building covers much more than just an office or business.

What Does Enter Mean?

What happens if your body never entered the building, is that be burglary?

Yes, entering includes the intrusion of any part of your body or any instrument under your control.  So, if you use some type of tool to reach through a window and take property from that building you can’t get around the charge b/c your body never entered the building.


What about consent.  If you initially had consent to enter a building and then concealed yourself until the store closed, is that a violation.  Yes, despite the fact that your initial entry was lawful.


Good lawyers know that it’s important to conduct your own investigation when defending these cases.  Some of the legal issues that can result in the case being dismissed is whether the building was abandoned.  Think if a juvenile who enters an abandoned warehouse and breaks a bunch of windows.  Because the warehouse is abandoned that’s not burglary, it may be trespass which is still a crime but it’s a misdemeanor offense that is eligible for diversionary programs that is much better than dealing with a felony.

Another scenario that is important to consider is was there the intent to commit a crime therein.  As a prosecutor I had a case where the defendant entered a building w/o consent.  There was video evidence of the break in and the alarm sounded.  However, the person was homeless and the video showed that they made no attempt to take any property and they laid down and slept on the floor as it was raining outside, I agreed with the defense attorney that there was no evidence of an intent to commit a crime therein, it wasn’t burglary under the statute.

Lastly, one common situation is where a person tries to sell stolen property at a porn shop and the item was taken from a building, without more that is nor burglary 3rd degree but probably possession of stolen property if you can show the person had knowledge it was stolen.

Charleston, SC Criminal Defense Attorney

If have been charged with burglary 3rd degree and would like to discuss your options, please call me at (843) 530-7813.  I hope this video was helpful and thanks for watching.

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