burglary

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burglary,

at common lawcommon law,
system of law that prevails in England and in countries colonized by England. The name is derived from the medieval theory that the law administered by the king's courts represented the common custom of the realm, as opposed to the custom of local jurisdiction that
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, the breaking and entering of a dwelling house of another at night with the intent to commit a felonyfelony
, any grave crime, in contrast to a misdemeanor, that is so declared in statute or was so considered in common law. In early English law a felony was a heinous act that canceled the perpetrator's feudal rights and forfeited his lands and goods to the king, thus depriving
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, whether the intent is carried out or not. This definition has been generally adopted with some modifications in the criminal law of the various states of the United States. At common law burglary is primarily an offense against the security of habitation, not against the property as such, but today by statute burglary usually includes breaking into places other than dwellings. Breaking as well as entering is essential to commission of the crime; to constitute a breaking, the use of physical force is necessary and sufficient, even though the amount of force may be slight, e.g., turning a key, opening a partly closed window, pushing out a windowpane. Entry through fraudfraud,
in law, willful misrepresentation intended to deprive another of some right. The offense, generally only a tort, may also constitute the crime of false pretenses. Frauds are either actual or constructive.
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 (as by posing as a guest), through threatthreat,
in law, declaration of intent to injure another by doing an unlawful act, with a view to restraining his freedom of action. A threat is distinguishable from an assault, for an assault requires some physical act that appears likely to eventuate in violence, whereas a
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, or through conspiracyconspiracy,
in law, agreement of two or more persons to commit a criminal or otherwise unlawful act. At common law, the crime of conspiracy was committed with the making of the agreement, but present-day statutes require an overt step by a conspirator to further the conspiracy.
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 with servants is deemed by the law equivalent to breaking and is called "constructive breaking." By statute most states do not restrict burglary to action at night, as the common law does. Burglary under common law requires that the intent be to commit a felony, but some statutes declare that the intent need only be "to commit some crime." See robberyrobbery,
in law, felonious taking of property from a person against his will by threatening or committing force or violence. The injury or threat may be directed against the person robbed, his property, or the person or property of his relative or of anyone in his presence at
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.

burglary

English criminal law the crime of either entering a building as a trespasser with the intention of committing theft, rape, grievous bodily harm, or damage, or, having entered as a trespasser, of committing one or more of these offences