What is the Law on Burglary in Montana and What are the Punishments for It?
Burglary is the act of committing a theft. This is not just theft when a burglar enters a home at night and steals something; it has a wider scope of application. There are many acts of theft that would be considered burglary. The laws on burglary vary from state to state in terms of its applicability and punishment. The laws that are applicable to the state of Montana are explained in this article.
Burglary in Montana
In the state of Montana, the Montana Code 45-6-204 outlines the law related to burglary. The act specifies that a person would be committing burglary if he knowingly or purposefully enters or remains unlawfully in an occupied structure and has the purpose of committing an offense or purposely commits an offense.
When we analyze this definition, we find that the term ‘occupied structure’ is used. What this effectively means is that it is not just a house that can be burgled, but also any structure that is occupied by people. It could be a house, school building, office building, store room, houseboat, tent, trailer, camp, etc.
The second part of the definition is that the person enters knowingly. So, if someone unknowingly enters an occupied structure, it is not burglary. After entering if he remains unlawfully then it would be burglary. When he commits an offense, it is of course burglary.
Even he enters with the purpose of committing an offense, but doesn’t commit the act, he still would be guilty of burglary. The moment he enters an occupied structure illegally, he is guilty of burglary. The law in Montana does not talk of theft, any offense committed while breaking and entering into a house is considered a burglary.
One more issue is that it must be an illegal entry. If the person is legally allowed to enter the structure, then it would not be burglary. For example, if it is a public place or if the person stays in that structure, then the entry by itself would not be burglary. However, if the person commits the offense, then it would be considered burglary.
When a person illegally enters an occupied structure, if he is armed with a weapon or explosives or inflicts or attempts to inflict a bodily injury or anyone knowingly or negligently, then he would be guilty of aggravated burglary.
Burglary is entering a home or any other occupied building with the purpose of committing an offense. During this act, if the burglar carries a weapon or an explosive, then the act of burglary would be considered aggravated burglary.
If the burglar attacks someone and either causes an injury or event attempts to cause an injury, it would be considered as aggravated burglary. The law states that if the attack is even made negligently, it would be considered as aggravated burglary.
Punishment under the law
In the state of Montana, the code prescribes the punishment for burglary. This is prescribed in 45-6-204 (3) of the Montana code.
A person who commits burglary as defined by the law would face trial and if found convicted would face punishment. As per the law, convicts committing burglary shall be imprisoned for a term that shall not exceed 20 years and/or may be fined an amount that shall not exceed $50,000.
In the case of aggravated burglary, the punishment under the law is imprisonment for a maximum of a period of 40 years and/or a fine for an amount that shall not be more than $50,000.