As the old saying goes, “a man’s home is his castle,” and the law attempts to protect people from unwarranted intrusions. Under the Canadian Criminal Code, home invasion is a variety of breaking and entering and is punishable by time in prison or a fine.
If you’ve been accused of home invasion, you do have defences, but you’ll need a skilled Calgary criminal defence lawyer by your side.
Defining the Crime
Under section 348 of the Criminal Code, someone breaks and enters a property in the following situations:
- They break and enter with the intent to commit an indictable offence inside;
- They break and enter and commit an indictable offence inside; or
- They break out of a place after committing an indictable offence inside or after entering with the intent to commit an indictable offence inside.
Home invasion builds on the breaking and entering law. It is an aggravating circumstance if the building was occupied at the time and the defendant:
- Knew it was occupied,
- Was reckless as to whether it was occupied, or
- Used violence or threats to a person or property
One of the best ways to defend yourself is to negate some element of the crime. For example, you might have broken into the home without any intent to commit an indictable offence and you didn’t commit any crime once you were inside. If so, then you haven’t violated the breaking and entering statute, so you can’t be convicted of that crime.
Alternately, you could specifically argue that no aggravating circumstance is present so that your entry doesn’t qualify as home invasion. For example, you might have carefully canvassed a home to find out if no one was present. If you’re surprised to find someone inside and don’t use threats or violence to enter, you can argue that you didn’t commit a home invasion.
Reduce Your Punishment
If you are convicted of breaking and entering into a dwelling house, you can face up to life in prison. However, if you commit the offence in relation to a non-dwelling property, then you can be convicted of a summary offence or an indictable offence with imprisonment for up to 10 years. Because home invasion is an aggravating factor, it’s possible that you will receive a stiffer sentence from the judge because you broke into a home that was occupied by people. For this reason, defending against the home invasion charge can help reduce your overall sentence.
Contact a Calgary Criminal Defence Lawyer Today
Home invasion is a serious charge, and you need an experienced and passionate defender by your side if the Crown decides to prosecute. At Bourdon Defence, our team will canvas the facts surrounding your case and identify your best possible defences given the evidence presented. We’ve helped countless criminal defendants get charges dismissed or reduced, and we are prepared to defend you all the way to trial if necessary. Call us for a free consultation at 403-474-4143 or send us an email using our online contact form.