First degree burglary is defined as forcibly breaking and entering into someone's home, while persons are in the home, with the sole intent of committing a crime, as stated by attorney Adam R. Banner. The offender forcibly gains entry by breaking a door, window, wall, locks or bolts.
According to Banner, the first degree charge is leveled only when the residence is occupied during the crime. Carrying a dangerous weapon while committing a break-in or having one or more accomplices assist with the burglary can merit a first degree charge. In addition, picking locks or using a false set of keys to unlock outer doors and windows are grounds to charge offenders in the first degree.
Under the New York penal code, an offender who physically harms a person in any way while entering, inside or leaving a dwelling is charged with first degree burglary, as stated by Crotty Sand Attorneys at Law. Offenders can be charged with this count even if an innocent party sustains minor injuries. New York also comes down hard on carrying a firearm to the scene of the crime. Even if only one offender brings a gun, all of the participating offenders get the highest burglary charge.