Home Invasion Updates

Last week was a big one for home invasion and criminal defense. The incidents during the past seven days have raised some interesting questions about crime classification and criminal penalties.

The New York Times reports that the Senate and House in Connecticut voted last week in favor of new laws that change the criminal classification of burglaries committed at nighttime from Class C felonies to Class B felonies and introduce “home invasion” as a new Class A felony.

The law was apparently developed in response to a deadly home invasion that occurred in Cheshire, CT last year. The new crime could land offenders a minimum 10-year prison sentence; the new minimum for nighttime burglaries is five years.

Home invasion has been defined as “unlawful entry of an occupied dwelling with intent to commit a crime, and either trying to commit a crime against the occupant or being armed,” sources report. While the new law met with approval from the vast majority of Connecticut legislators, not everyone expressed enthusiasm.

Critics have evidently called the law more of a feel-good measure for lawmakers than a move that will have practical impact on actual crime rates. Others have pointed out that seniors and individuals with disabilities who are home during the day could be negatively impacted by the bill’s new classifications, according to sources.

A recent incident in Virginia highlighted some of the other issues that can arise during a home invasion or burglary. Reports from an NBC News affiliate tell of a home robbery in Suffolk, VA that turned into a felony drug bust.

When police responded to a report of a home burglary in progress, they apparently arrived at the scene in time to arrest two suspects and charge them with burglary and grand larceny. But the police presence turned out to be just as bad for the home’s owner as for the suspected thieves.

When they entered the house, police officers reportedly found evidence of an elaborate marijuana-growing operation. Because of the massive amounts of the illegal substance, the owner of the property has allegedly been charged with felony manufacturing of marijuana.

If convicted, the pot grower could face up to 30 years in prison.

But some criminals stand to lose more than their freedom during home invasions. According to MILive.com, a recent home invasion in Michigan nearly cost the suspect his toes. Apparently, the invader escaped police by running from the house onto an iced-over Lake Michigan – in bare feet.

Though the suspect reportedly escaped frostbite, he could face a hefty prison sentence if convicted.

Legislators across the nation are sending a message that the home is a sacred place, and those who disregard that designation could face serious penalties.