Phoenix, AZ asked in Criminal Law for Arizona

Q: When your house is broken into and you call the police, what is the officers duty to assit me in this situation?

TENANTS were evicted thru the courts. They returned. Police finally cuffed them and said I could only charge them with tresspassing not breaking an entry. Yet they said it was a felony. What is correct?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Jon Matthew Martinez
Jon Matthew Martinez
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: It is rather difficult to determine what the tenants will be charged with for a number of different reasons. First, the police are not the ones who charge people for their crimes. Neither are you. Rather, the police submit a case to the County Attorney's Office or other prosecuting agency and the prosecutor's are the ones who will formally charge the person. Second, there is no crime in Arizona for breaking and entering. Rather, it would most likely either be trespassing in the first degree which is a class 6 felony offense. Arizona law defines trespassing as "a person commits criminal trespass in the first degree by knowingly:

1. Entering or remaining unlawfully in or on a residential structure."

They may also be charged with burglary which is a more serious felony offense. However, to be charged with burglary, they must not only enter the structure without authority, but the tenant must also do so in order to commit a theft or felony inside of the structure.

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