Concept, elements of the crime and other important characteristics of burglary

Burglary involves secretly entering premises where someone else's property is stored. In the norms of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, home burglary is singled out as a separate feature, while the types of other objects and storage locations do not matter. Using hacking to commit theft automatically entails increased sanctions under the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, and you can read more about this in the presented material.

  • Concept and signs of burglary
  • Features and types of burglary during theft
  • Punishment for burglary

How is such a crime classified?

The entry of a guilty person into a home or other premises is a qualifying sign of theft. Responsibility for entering a premises or any other storage facility (not a home!) is provided for in paragraph b) of Part 2 of Art. 158 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. The actions of a criminal with penetration into the home (!) of the victim, that is, for burglary, will be assessed under paragraph a) of Part 3 of Art. 158 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

Moreover, the offender may have a desire to steal someone else’s property after illegally entering the victim’s home. In this case, the theft is regarded without aggravating circumstances, and illegal entry will be considered under Art. 139 of the Criminal Code “Violation of the inviolability of the home.”

Read more about the qualifying signs of theft under the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation in this article.

What does "illegally enter" mean?

Entry will be considered illegal if the guilty person found himself inside the premises without the consent of its owner or persons entrusted with monitoring its integrity. Those. if the theft was committed by a person who has permanent or temporary access to the premises due to his work duties, official position or personal (family or friendly) connections, it cannot be qualified as theft with illegal entry.

Entry will be considered illegal not only when the offender entered the premises secretly, but also if he misled the owner of the premises or another eyewitness to what was happening.

Signs of penetration may include:

  • broken lock;
  • a broken window or broken door;
  • damaged alarm system;
  • de-energizing the premises in order to unlock electronic locks.

Penetration is considered not only the physical presence inside the premises, but also methods that allow the removal of valuables located inside the premises using objects (for example, a fishing rod).

The concept of "dwelling"

The concept of housing for criminal proceedings is disclosed in Article 139 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. A dwelling is considered to be a residential premises that is part of the housing stock and suitable for habitation, or an individual residential building together with its residential and non-residential premises, or another premises or building that is not included in the housing stock, but intended for temporary residence.
Dwellings do not include cellars, garages, sheds and other outbuildings, as well as train compartments or ship cabins. However, housing refers not only to private houses and apartments, but also rooms in a hostel or hotel, cottages, garden houses, cabins for builders or hunting lodges.

Qualification of theft

Article 158 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation qualifies theft into three types:

  1. Simple.
  2. Qualified.
  3. Particularly qualified.

An act can be called criminal only if it has the full composition of the elements that characterize it. Theft is recognized as such if it contains:

  • the subject of the crime, i.e. a person who has committed a criminal act. This is a person who is already 14 years old and also sane (aware of his actions);
  • object of the crime, i.e. what the offender has encroached upon with his illegal actions. These are property relations (not only the right of ownership, but also the right to use or dispose of a thing). The subject of theft is always movable property (when it comes to real estate, for example, a plot of land, then its illegal seizure in one way or another is qualified under other articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). An object always has a certain value. Moreover, its value cannot be less than 5,000 rubles, otherwise the unlawful actions of the subject of the crime will be qualified under the article of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation, which provides for liability for petty theft;
  • the objective side of the crime, i.e. external manifestation of illegal actions. Theft always occurs secretly. The owner (owner) of the thing that the thief has encroached on may be present when the crime is committed, but not see or be aware of what is happening (the thing can be pulled out of his pocket, taken out of the apartment while he is there, etc.). Or those present see that a crime is being committed, but the thief himself believes that he is acting secretly from everyone. When it comes to burglaries, as a rule, criminal acts are accompanied by burglary and illegal entry into someone else's home (through open doors, broken windows, etc.). The cause-and-effect relationship in case of secret theft is always the infliction of material damage to the owner or legal possessor of the thing;
  • the subjective side of the crime, i.e. how the criminal actions were perceived by the thief himself, and for what purpose he committed the crime. The attacker acts with selfish interest. He does not always know exactly what property he will receive as a result. Nevertheless, a potential criminal sets himself a specific goal - for example, to get into a store warehouse or into the chief accountant's office and take away everything that has any value.


Burglary of a residential premises is punished more severely, since such a crime is more dangerous both for the owners of the housing (persons who may find themselves in it, including those who appeared at the time of the crime), and for those around them.

The unqualified corpus delicti of theft allows the offender to avoid criminal liability if:

  • the crime was committed for the first time;
  • the thief fully compensated for the damage caused;
  • the accused (suspect) and the injured party have reconciled (Article 76 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).

It is impossible to terminate a criminal case by reconciliation of the parties if the theft occurred with a burglary of a residential premises, and not a barn, office, etc.

Signs of a burglary

A distinctive feature is the secret illegal entry of guilty persons into a home, premises, or storage facility. Intent must appear before entering someone else's property. If selfish interest arose after the criminal was on someone else’s territory, his actions will be classified differently.

  • Broken locks and constipations;
  • Broken windows, doors;
  • Disconnecting premises from the electrical network;
  • Disabling alarms and CCTV cameras.

Theft by penetration will also be considered such actions when the attacker himself does not directly enter the premises, but somehow removes property from it (for example, using a harpoon to pull things out of a hole in someone else’s barn).

Collective burglary

Burglary can be committed by a group of people who have previously agreed to commit a crime, or by an organized group. This aggravates the guilt of lawbreakers and entails a more serious measure of criminal liability. In such situations, the court finds out exactly when there was a conspiracy of criminals, which of the accomplices and what role was assigned, what actions were performed directly by the perpetrators and the rest of the group members (organizer, accomplice, etc.).


If a person who was not part of a conspiracy (organized group) took part in the crime, he is responsible specifically for his actions, without applying the qualifying feature of collective theft.

Corpus delicti

The subject of a crime is an individual over the age of 14 years. The subjective side is characterized by direct intent to enter the premises for the selfish purpose of taking possession of someone else’s property.

The object of the theft is the victim’s ownership of the stolen property, and the objective side is the secret theft of this property from the premises of the victim. Moreover, it does not matter whether the penetration was secret or overt.

But the theft itself bears the signs of a hidden act, in which the guilty person does not have eyewitnesses of what is happening, or there are eyewitnesses, but they do not see or do not understand the illegal essence of his actions, or the guilty person believes that he is acting secretly.

Theft concept

The definition is given in Article 158 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, additional explanations were given by the Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation in Resolution No. 29 dated December 27, 2002.

Theft is the secret theft of property, that is, the unlawful gratuitous seizure and (or) conversion of someone else's property in favor of the criminal or other persons. Such actions are carried out for selfish purposes. The owner (owner) of the property suffers material damage, and in some cases he also suffers moral damage.


To recognize theft as a completed crime, the fact of theft is not enough. The criminal must have a real opportunity to use the thing as he wants (sell, gift, etc.).

When is an action considered completed?

Since when committing a burglary, the main crime is the theft of property, and entry into the premises is only a qualifying feature, the crime can be considered completed if the offender has taken possession of someone else’s property and actually or formally has the opportunity to use it.

The circumstances under which the court assesses the ability of the guilty person to use stolen property are considered individually each time. For example, a criminal detained by security at the exit from a store with a pack of baby diapers did not have time to use them, but a criminal who stole a ring that he put on his finger is already using the stolen item at the time of detention.

Thus, a theft that was interrupted at the time of its commission for reasons beyond the control of the offender is an attempted crime. These may be cases when the criminal was caught by surprise at the time of committing the theft or when he was detained until the opportunity to use the stolen property for personal gain.


There is no separate article for burglary in the Criminal Code (hereinafter referred to as the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), namely, it establishes liability for committing theft. According to Article 158 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, when considering a case of burglary, the defendant can be found guilty under Part 2 - theft on a significant scale, Part 3 - on a large scale and under Part 4 - on an especially large scale. That is, the court takes as the main point not the fact of hacking itself, but the amount of damage that was caused to the victim, but it can serve as an aggravating circumstance, which can significantly increase the term.

Typical signs of a hack include:

  1. Broken locks.
  2. Damaged doors, broken hinges.
  3. Damaged elements of the protection and warning (alarm) system.
  4. Intentional disruption of the power supply to the premises.

It is also worth understanding the difference between theft (theft) and robbery. The main difference is the word "secret". Both are criminal offenses, but robbery is the open deliberate unlawful theft of someone else’s property, and responsibility is already determined by Article 161 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.


Liability for simple theft is provided in the form of:

  • a fine of up to 80,000 rubles or earnings or any other income of the guilty person up to the amount for a six-month period;
  • or compulsory labor of a convicted person for up to 360 hours;
  • or correctional labor for up to two years;
  • or restriction of freedom for up to two years;
  • or being under arrest for up to 4 months;
  • or imprisonment for up to two years.

If the qualifying feature is illegal entry into a premises or storage facility, the punishment is established as:

  • a fine of up to 200,000 rubles or the earnings or any other income of the guilty person up to one and a half years;
  • or compulsory labor up to 480 hours;
  • or correctional labor for up to two years;
  • or forced labor for up to five years together with or without restriction of freedom for up to a year;
  • or imprisonment for up to five years with or without restriction of freedom for up to a year.

In particularly aggravating circumstances of theft, such as penetration into the victim’s home, punishment is provided in the form of:

  • a fine from 100,000 to 500,000 rubles or in the amount of earnings or any other income of the guilty person from 1 to 3 years;
  • or forced labor for up to five years combined with or without restriction of freedom for up to six months;
  • or imprisonment for up to six years with payment of a fine in the amount of 80,000 or up to six months’ earnings or any other income, or without payment of a fine and with or without restriction of freedom for up to one and a half years.

Criminal liability

The minimum punishment for theft with illegal entry into premises is a fine of 700 to 1000 minimum wages or in the amount of salary for a period of 7 to 12 months. In aggravating circumstances, burglary is punishable by a term of imprisonment of 2 to 6 years and a maximum fine of up to 50 minimum wages or in the amount of salary or other income for 1 month.

Therefore, the punishment for burglary in 2022 has not changed. Exemption from criminal liability can only be a person’s insanity or age under 14 years.

In cases where an attacker entered the premises by breaking the lock, damaging walls, safes, his actions are additionally qualified as destruction or damage to property , according to Article 167 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. This entails an increase in prison term and fine.

Punishment of accomplices

Responsibility for burglary by two or more persons occurs when they all enter the premises together , as well as in the event that one person entered and the others contributed to this and participated in the seizure of property. Complicity makes it easier to commit a crime and conceal it. In addition, in such cases, the victim often suffers more significant material damage, and the methods of entering the premises become more sophisticated and dangerous.

When a theft is carried out by a group of people, locks, roofs, walls, doors are broken, and keys are selected. When assessing the activities of accomplices, the court must establish the existence of a causal connection between the actions of the entire group and the perpetrator, as well as the fact that they contributed to the criminal outcome. At the same time, the goals and motives of the organizer, instigator and accomplice sometimes do not coincide with the goals of the performer. The latter always has selfish motives, and the accomplice may be guided by other motives. However, this does not affect the classification of the crime. All perpetrators are held criminally liable under Article 34 and Part 3 of Article 158 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

The conspiracy is considered preliminary if it was reached before the start of the crime. The form of agreement can be not only oral or written. It is also achieved through gestures, facial expressions and even silent consent.

The punishment for each perpetrator of the crime will depend on the assessment of the evidence regarding each perpetrator and accomplice of the burglary.

Also read: What is the difference between theft and robbery: the main differences and illustrative examples

Aggravating circumstances

Aggravating circumstances that may affect a harsher sentence for burglary include:

  1. Large amount of theft (more than 500 minimum wages).
  2. Causing significant damage to the victim.
  3. Participation of an organized group in a crime.
  4. Repeated crime.

All types of thefts in Russian criminal law are regulated by just one article - 158th. The classification of crimes is complicated by the fact that there is no concept of “burglary” in the legislation. In this regard, the very fact of breaking the lock has virtually no effect on the final verdict. On the other hand, if illegal entry into a home is proven, this becomes an aggravating circumstance in which the offender faces up to 6 years in prison. Only those criminals who fully admitted guilt and returned the stolen property to the rightful owner can hope for a mitigation of punishment.

What to do if a crime has been detected?

When it is discovered that property has been stolen with signs of intrusion, the victim first needs to assess the possible damage from the actions of the attacker. In addition, the property owner must ensure the safety of evidence at the crime scene. Access to the premises should be limited until the investigative team arrives.

Then the victim should contact law enforcement authorities with a statement about the theft of his property. Before the police arrive, the victim can take independent measures to solve the crime: ask neighbors, prepare surveillance camera footage, prepare documents for the stolen property and its exact description.

Where to contact?

A report of the theft is submitted to the police department at the place where the theft occurred after it was discovered. The delay in filing a complaint makes it difficult for police officers to solve the crime.

Collective burglary

The theft is classified as committed by a group of persons in conspiracy if it can be proven that the criminals agreed on joint actions in advance.

The characteristics of the group are:

  • Number (at least 2 participants).
  • Joint and coordinated actions.
  • Selfish intent.

In the case where the perpetrators of the theft were persons who do not fit the characteristics of the subject of the theft (due to age or other reasons), then the organizer of such a group will be recognized as the perpetrator. He will receive appropriate punishment.

The same applies to situations where the organizer and instigator did not take part in the commission of the crime. He will still be punished as a performer. If a criminal group consists of children under the age of 14, and only one member of the group is older, then the nature of the theft will not be qualified by the group. This participant will be recognized as the only performer.

Additional questions

How to protect property from theft

Law enforcement agencies take measures to protect the population from theft. But a lot also depends on the owners of the premises. Necessary:

  • strengthen door and window frames;
  • use modern locks with several degrees of burglary protection;
  • put bars on the windows (if the room is located in the access area from the street);
  • do not allow strangers into the apartment;
  • do not disseminate information about your financial situation.

Hint: it is better to store especially valuable things and cash:

  • in the safe;
  • at a banking institution.

How many years do you get for petty theft?

Theft is considered petty when the value of the stolen property does not exceed 2,500 rubles. Very often, petty thefts are committed in hypermarkets by people who do not want to pay for products. The value of the stolen goods is determined according to the average market price. It is important to know that the amount stolen is equal to the purchase price of the goods. The store's promotion does not play any role. Determining the value of stolen goods is necessary in order to qualify a crime under the civil or criminal code. So how many years do you get for theft if the cost of the damage is less than 2,500 thousand rubles? Punishment for such an act is provided for in Article 7.27 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation. This crime is administrative. The person who committed this act is subject to a fine of one thousand rubles to five times the value of the goods, or arrest for several days, or correctional labor. If petty theft is committed by a minor citizen under 16 years of age, the fine is imposed on the parents.

From all of the above we can conclude that each theft is individual. Therefore, it is impossible to say unambiguously how many years they give for theft. After all, each such act has its own motives, goals and reasons. Each theft has its own qualifying characteristics.

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