What Must a Prosecutor Prove to Get Someone Convicted in a Burglary Case?

To get a person convicted in a burglary case, a prosecutor must prove that the defendant broke into and entered a building or other occupied structure without authorization and with the intention of committing a crime inside, states FindLaw. If the prosecutor fails to prove any one of these elements, the case fails.

Entering a building through an unlocked door or an open window qualifies as breaking and entering, according to Nolo. Partial entry, such as stretching one arm through an open window, also qualifies as sufficient entry. A prosecutor only needs to prove that the defendant entered any kind of structure, including a car, boat, stable, barn or a mobile home to satisfy the "building" element. Thereafter, the prosecutor only needs to prove that the defendant did not have prior consent to enter the building, and that he intended to commit a crime, even if he did not commit an actual crime.

The tools that a person possesses while breaking into a house are usually sufficient to prove intent to commit a crime, states FindLaw. If the defendant decided to commit a crime inside the building, but only after entering the building, his actions may constitute a crime other than burglary, explains Nolo. In defense, the defendant may dispute the accusations leveled against him or admit to the actions and argue that they do not constitute a crime.