Legislative Watch: PA House Passes Tough “Home Invasion” Bill, Mandatory Minimum Sentences of 10 to 20 Years

By: Dave Mueller, Criminal Defense Attorney

In a vote of 202-2, the Pennsylvania House yesterday passed a bill creating tough new sanctions for “home invasion” burglary, including possible mandatory minimum sentences of 10-20 years. PA House Bill 1296, which now heads to the Senate for consideration, would amend to existing burglary law to create a new classification of burglary defined as a “home invasion.”

A “home invasion,” as defined under the proposed law, would include any burglary of a building adapted for overnight accommodation where the actor either: 1) actually commits certain specific violent offenses (e.g.- homicide, aggravated assault, rape, kidnapping, etc.); or 2) is armed with a deadly weapon or explosive.

The penalties set forth in the bill’s current form are very serious. A first offense home invasion burglary where the victim is less than 62 years old would carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 5-10 years. A second offense home invasion, or any home invasion where the victim is 62 years or older, would carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 10-20 years.

The bill is not law yet, and would not apply to any offenses committed prior to its final execution into law, but it once again highlights the need for anyone facing a charge as serious as burglary to consult with an experienced attorney. Regardless of the pending law, burglary in its current form can carry a sentence as high as 10-20 years and a fine of $25,000. If you are charged with, or thing you may be charged with, a burglary or any other criminal offense in Pennsylvania, call us today to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

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